The 2DayFM phone call where the radio presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, telephoned the King Edward VII hospital, in London, and impersonated Her Majesty the Queen as a means of obtaining information about the medical condition of the Duchess of Cambridge has had serious consequences.
News: 5th December 2012
The hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge is being treated for severe pregnancy sickness has admitted one of its nurses gave out confidential details of her treatment after falling victim to a hoax call from an Australian radio station.
Part of transcript:
Mel Greig, pretending to be the Queen: Oh Hello there, could I please speak to Kate, my granddaughter?
Hospital: Oh yes, just hold on a moment
Michael Christian: Are they putting us through?
Mel Greig: Yes
Christian: [laughs] If this has worked, it’s the easiest prank call we’ve ever made. Your accent sucked by the way. [laughs]
Greig: I’m not used to playing old 80-year-olds.
“Queen”: Kate my darling, are you there.
Nurse: Good morning ma’am, this is a nurse speaking. How may I help you?
“Queen”: Hello, I’m just after my granddaughter Kate, I wanted to see how her little tummy bug is going.
Nurse: She’s sleeping at the moment [gives details of her treatment and condition]
What happened next ?
The receptionist, Ms Saldanha, who took the call and gave out personal information, assuming the call was genuine, has now committed suicide.
It seems that the call was illegal, and so would be the constant playing of the conversation over the airwaves, even after the death of Ms Saldanha was confirmed.
Recording of telephone conversations is a matter tightly controlled by law.
The Federal Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979 and State and Territory listening devices laws may both apply to this activity. The general rule is that the call may not be recorded. There are exceptions to these rules in very limited circumstances including where a warrant applies.
If a call is to be recorded or monitored, an organisation must tell you at the beginning of the conversation so that you have the chance either to end the call, or to ask to be transferred to another line where monitoring or recording does not take place if this is available.
Did the presenters of the radio station consider the effect on this nurse whose voice has now been played all around the world ?
Did they care about her feelings ?
They obviously would not have thought she would commit suicide over this, but they must have realised that it would affect her in some negative way, OR, if they are that naive to not consider this, then are they really suitable for the job they have ?
I have been told that the two presenters would not have expected such consequences, from their call, and subsequent air time, and as such they should not be blamed.
When I drive a car at speeds over the limit, I never expect to cause an accident, and never have, but that still does not stop the police from prosecuting me, because I broke a law that is in place to stop possible consequences.
The Federal Telecommunications law is in place to stop intended AND unintended consequences and as such should not be ignored because everyone else does it…
If it can be ignored, then I want all my speeding fines refunded…
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