Australian Communications and Media Authority Officially Begins Investigation on Royal Prank Call

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By Jenalyn Villamarin | December 13, 2012 3:31 PM EST

The media regulator Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) officially started an investigation on the famous Royal prank call that led to the tragic death of Nurse Jacintha Saldanha. 

ACMA's examination of the case will determine if 2Day FM complied with their broadcasting license conditions as well as the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice.

"The ACMA's formal regulatory relationship is always with the relevant licensee and not the presenters of any broadcast in question. The ACMA will be examining whether the licensee has complied with its broadcasting obligations," Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA, stated.

"These events are a tragedy for all involved and I pass on my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased nurse in London," Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman, stated on Saturday about Jacintha Saldanha's death.

The NSW police also confirmed their assistance to the Scotland Yard police in a separate investigation on the Royal prank call case.

Southern Cross Austereo confirmed on Wednesday that in-house training was provided to all of the staff including the Hot 30 Countdown members with presenters educated in radio codes and associated procedures. By law, the network must deliver this kind of training every six months but SCA recommends it to be voluntary every three months.

Consent is considered crucial in any defense of the taped phone call with the radio broadcasting code insisting it is a violation to record a person in conversation and also air it without their knowledge.

Section 6.1 of the Code states: "A licensee must not broadcast the words of an identifiable person unless: a) that person has been informed in advance or a reasonable person would be aware that the words may be broadcast; or b) in the case of words which have been recorded without the knowledge of the person, that person has subsequently, but prior to the broadcast, expressed consent to the broadcast of the word."

ACMA has reportedly implemented licensing conditions on Austereo due to the results of other scandals connected to the breakfast duo, Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O. These violations should drive the Austereo management in improving their protocols on approving radio stunts for broadcast, providing better staff education of the radio code and monitoring the content to maintain standards of public decency.

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