Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the death of a British nurse duped by a hoax call from two Australian radio jocks as a terrible tragedy, while the government confirmed there had been a flood of complaints over the prank.
2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian have been taken off air after their prank call to London’s exclusive King Edward VII Hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for acute morning sickness, was linked to the death of respected nurse and mother Jacintha Saldanha, 46, on Friday.
Police have said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Ms Saldanha’s death and it’s believed she took her life.
A spokesman for Ms Gillard said in a statement this morning: "This is a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time."
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, meantime, confirmed that there had been a flood of complaints over the prank but said the "decision about whether to investigate the call for possible breaches of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice is one for the independent regulator."
Describing the death of Ms Saldanha as "dreadful and tragic", Senator Conroy said:
"Australia's independent broadcasting regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, has received complaints about the hoax call.
"The decision about whether to investigate the call for possible breaches of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice is one for the independent regulator."
The broadcasting regulator, meantime, says it will be talking to the licensee of the radio station which broadcast the prank call.
The ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, issued a statement on Saturday saying the authority ‘‘does not propose to make any comments at this stage, but will be engaging with the licensee, Today FM Sydney (sic), around the facts and issues surrounding the prank call’’.
Mr Chapman added: ‘‘These events are a tragedy for all involved and I pass on my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased nurse in London.’
- with AAP
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