Australia royal hoax radio station to review procedures

Sun Dec 9, 2012 1:27pm EST
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By Morag MacKinnon and Tim Castle

PERTH, Australia/LONDON (Reuters) - An Australian radio station under fire over a prank call to a hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Kate said on Sunday it would review its procedures after a nurse's apparent suicide.

New South Wales Police said they were in contact with London's police force and were ready to assist in any investigation, as the incident sparked fresh soul-searching over the behavior of the media.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found dead in staff accommodation near London's King Edward VII hospital on Friday after putting the hoax call through to a colleague who unwittingly disclosed details of Kate's morning sickness to 2DayFM's presenters.

A recording of the call, broadcast repeatedly by the station, rapidly became an internet hit and was reprinted as a transcript in many newspapers.

Public amusement at the prank turned to disgust after news of Saldanha's death swept around the globe. The station's owners pulled presenters Michael Christian and Mel Greig off the air as leading companies canceled advertising.

The station's parent company, Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), said it would fully cooperate in any investigations in a letter to the head of the King Edward hospital.

"I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved," SCA chairman Max Moore-Wilton said.

"We are all saddened by the events of the last few days. They are truly tragic... The outcome was unforseeable and very regrettable," he added.   Continued...

A police officer is reflected as he stands outside King Edward VII hospital, a day after Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge was discharged in central London December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris