The controversial Australian radio show Hot 30, last year responsible for a prank call which was a factor in the suicide of a nurse in England, has been cancelled by host station 2Day FM, though they claim that the presenters directly involved in the joke will be able to come back to a DJ-ing duty on the channel in the near future should they choose.
The prank call, made in December to the private King Edward VII Hospital in London (England) after Princess Kate was admitted there for a week (and causing a completely over-the-top media swarm on the building), was picked up by Jacintha Saldanha, who forwarded feedback on the princess’ condition (and later pressured over her breach of privacy), to what she believed was the Queen and Prince Charles (who were voiced by presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian).
The fall-out from the incident was heightened a few days later when Saldanha, who was found dead in her home in the nurse’s quarters through what was believed to be a suicide. This incident naturally escalated the outrage at 2Day and its presenters, who were since placed on a leave of absence from the station and the show suspended over the regrettable incident, in which the station had also failed to gain consent from the nurses called for their voices from the prerecorded call to be featured live on-air.
The dark cloud continues to hover over 2Day FM and their parent company Southern Cross Austereo, who note that Christian and Greig are to remain contracted to them in the wake of the incident, but that their timeslot will be taken over by a new programme. The station, who have been donating their ad revenue to a charity in honour of Saldanha, have filled the gap left by Hot 30 with a presenter-less music show, but are now preparing a new programme to take its place.
Southern Cross’ chief executive Rhys Holleran said of their DJ’s in the face of the ‘witch-hunt’ against them: “We look forward to Mel and MC returning to work when the time is right, in roles that make full use of their talents – we will discuss future roles with them when they are ready.”
While the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), regulators of commercial radio in Australia, are continuing their investigation into the prank call and its place against the code of conduct, internally the DJ’s responsible are now allowed back on-air with the station, but is it the right decision? Have your say below:
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