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DJs distressed over nurse’s death

Greig and Christian speak out for first time since the suspected suicide of a woman after a prank call

  • By Alison Rourke
  • Published: 15:18 December 10, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • Sydney-based 2DayFM radio presenters Michael Christian (left) and Mel Greig speak during an interview with Seven Network’s current affairs programme Today Tonight in Sydney on Monday

London: The two DJs at the centre of the prank call to the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was staying have spoken for the first time since the tragic death of nurse Jacintha Saldana.

Teary and upset, Mel Greig and Michael Christian told of their distress upon hearing about Saldanha’s death.

“[It was] the worst phone call I’ve ever had in my life,” Greig told the Nine network’s A Current Affair programme.

“I’ve thought about this a million times in my head and have wanted to reach out to them [the family of Saldanha] and just give them a big hug. I hope they’re OK, I really do,” said Greig.

“I just hope that they get the love, the support and care that they need,” said Christian.

The two DJs spoke to the media for the first time since they went into hiding on Saturday. They gave interviews to Channel Nine and Channel 7’s main evening current affairs programmes, to be aired on Monday evening.

The host of the Nine programme, Tracey Grimshaw, earlier tweeted that the interview had not been paid for. It was “neither asked nor offered”, she said.

Grimshaw told Fairfax Media the prerecorded interview was “very intense” with a lot of people in the room including radio station staff and supporters. She said she felt sympathy for the DJs.

“They’re at a certain point on the food chain. There are other people who made the decision to put it to air. It wasn’t live-to-air. There was a decision made after that prank call was recorded to put it to air, and virtually all the focus has been on them,” Grimshaw said.

“We talked about the process of the prank call, how it came about, what happens after you record something like that, where are the checks and balances, what is the network’s policy on prank calls, where do you draw the line,” she added.

“We talked about their future and we talked about whether prank calls should be banned.”

Channel 7’s Today Tonight programme, which will also air an interview on Monday night with the two DJs, tweeted: “On #TodayTonight at 6:30... #2DayFM pranksters tell all on the Royal hoax that went horribly wrong how their lives have changed forever.”

Rhys Holleran, CEO of Southern Cross Austereo, which owns 2Day FM, said the station attempted to contact King Edward VII hospital “no less than five times” before broadcasting the pre-recorded material.

“It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people on multiple occasions,” Holleran said. “We rang them to discuss what we had recorded,” he said, adding that this was done before the recorded prank went to air.

“Absolutely. We attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions. We wanted to speak to them about it,” he said.

Holleran reiterated that he was “deeply saddened” by the tragic events that have unfolded since the call but again said no one could have reasonably foreseen the circumstances. He said the station was happy to co-operate with any investigation into the incident.

The industry-drawn-up Commercial Radio Codes of Practice and Guidelines state that a station must not broadcast the words of an identifiable person unless they have been informed in advance that the recording may go to air. If someone is unaware they are being recorded, the interviewee must grant consent for it to be played, prior to anything being broadcast.

Guardian News and Media 2012

Comments (15)

  1. Added 14:42 December 11, 2012

    I think a lot of people don't know that the nurse who committed suicide was actually not the one who answered the call. She simply transferred the call. This is why I find it very odd that she committed suicide. Not to take away from her troubles and personal problems, but i feel there is more to the issue than meets the eye.

    Karim, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:25 December 11, 2012

    UAE radio staions also practicing "Prank calls" and same should be banned asap.

    George, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:04 December 11, 2012

    I am sure the whole world is deeply saddened by the turn of events from a prank call. These calls are funny to everybody except to the victim. It goes to show how low we have stopped OR willing to stoop so long as we gain popularity. Making pranks is as old as hills and mountains and we see them on TV (Just for Gags for example) or hear them on radio stations even here in the UAE. It is easy to say we should draw a line. But the line is so think it is difficult to judge how much is acceptable and how much is not. So I support banning these sick prank calls at least here in the UAE as some of the prank calls played on air every morning can really not be funny at all !!!!!!

    Satish, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 13:53 December 11, 2012

    i some how, hate when people play a prank on anyone for that matter.never know when it can go wrong, this is a good example for anyone who is trying to play a prank on anyone. think of the consequences before you leap. RJ's most of the time goes off note on a joke and they think its hilarious.

    karim, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 13:33 December 11, 2012

    UAE RJ's also play a million times with the feelings of people. I have personally heard Hindi radio channels where RJ's make fun of people. This has to be stopped and a code/rule has to formulated in UAE for Radio broadcast and content. I am sure many many people are hurt by these pranks!! RIP Jacintha

    Tony, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 12:53 December 11, 2012

    How many people have hung themselves because of shame and failures? They should know that.

    jean, AUH, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:51 December 11, 2012

    I will not blame the djs. We have no right to take our own life. Whatever may be the cause, everything has a solution. what we need is patience. If prank call can lead to the nurse's death she might have been a very sensitive person or something else might have disturbed her, that no one knows. But I feel there must be something else that has happened in between that, we all don't know. Also, without knowing the actual truth, do not blame anyone. Rest in Peace Jacintha Saldanha.

    Josna George, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 11:30 December 11, 2012

    Make them both and all those involved for their callous attitude to air the recorded prank, pay with heavy compensation to the grieving family. It's hightime that every individual begin to respect each other, irrespective of their country origin and culture. May the Lord grant Jacinta eternal rest and comfort her loved ones in this time of sorrow.

    Michelle Maureen, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 11:07 December 11, 2012

    Such prank calls are very evdident here in UAE. Sad, but then this is what radio stations will do to get popularity. While they make fun of the person on the other end, they are wasting valuable time of that person and not to mention degrading his morale. Pathetic!

    Ali Asgar, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 10:49 December 11, 2012

    This incident is a disgrace to humanity and the DJs deserves punishment.

    Noushad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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