Australia launches inquiry into royal prank call

Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:29pm EST
 

CANBERRA/LONDON (Reuters) - Australia's media regulator launched an investigation on Thursday into a prank call by a radio station to a London hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife as condemnation grew after the death of the nurse who took the call.

The body of nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found last Friday, days after she put the hoax call through to a colleague who disclosed details of the treatment being given to William's wife Kate, who is suffering from acute morning sickness.

The prank made headlines around the world, as did news that Saldanha, who was married with two children, had then apparently committed suicide.

British lawmaker Keith Vaz, who represents Saldanha's family, said he had written to Southern Cross Austereo, parent company of Sydney radio station 2Day FM, to express his dissatisfaction.

"There has been no written apology, no request for a meeting with the family and no attempt to travel to the United Kingdom to express contrition," Vaz wrote in a letter to Southern Cross chief executive Rhys Holleran that he released to the media.

Southern Cross, which has apologized for the stunt, said on Tuesday it would donate its advertising revenue until the end of the year to a fund for Saldanha's family, with a minimum contribution of A$500,000 ($525,000).

"I would be grateful if you could let me know how you arrived at this figure and why you think this adequately deals with this serious and important issue," Vaz wrote.

Southern Cross and its two presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, have faced a barrage of criticism since Saldanha, 46, was found dead in staff accommodation near London's King Edward VII hospital.

Greig and Christian have both been suspended and their show has been scrapped. They appeared on Australian television to say the death had left them heartbroken.   Continued...