UPDATE: 2DAY FM tried to contact London's King Edward VII Hospital to discuss its pre-recorded prank call, the station's boss says.
Rhys Holleran, CEO of Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the station, says the hospital was called several times about the prank call to a nurse to inquire after the sick Duchess of Cambridge, The Australian reports.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead on Friday, three days after she answered the prank call at the hospital from radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian.
"It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people on multiple occasions," Mr Holleran told Fairfax Radio today.
"We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded."
Mr Holleran said the calls to the hospital were made before the prank call piece went to air.
"Absolutely. We attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions," he said.
"We wanted to speak to them about it."
The revelation comes as the Australian Communications and Media Authority said it was considering opening its own investigation into the radio company behind the prank phone call.
The investigation would focus on sections six and nine of the Commercial Radio Code of Practice (2011) which deal with the "unauthorised broadcast of statements by identifiable persons" and "competitions, stunts and pranks" made on live entertainment programs. It will also use its own "privacy guidelines for broadcasters" as a test to see whether the conventions were violated.
Section six 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
b) In the case of words which have been recorded without the knowledge of that person, that person has subsequently, but prior to the broadcast, expressed consent to the broadcast of their words."
Communications Minister senator Stephen Conroy used the launch of new tele practice guidelines at the Sydney Royal Institute for Death and Blind Children to confirm reports in The Australian that the independent broadcasting authority is considering ''fast-tracking'' an investigation into the prank call.
''The death of of Jacintha Saldanha is dreadful and tragic along with all Australians my thoughts and sympathies are with Ms Saldanha's family, friends and work colleagues,'' Mr Conroy said.
''The ACMA is talking to 2Day FM about the facts and issues surrounding the prank call. While the ACMA is gathering the facts and working through this independent process it would be unwise for me to comment. They're in the process of gathering the information and making an assessment whether to launch an inquiry without the need to go through the usual process.''
He indicated the ACMA will have more to say on any decision it makes in due course.
''These are very tragic circumstances. This is a very sensitive situation, we should let the independent regulator make their decision without politicians commenting along the way,'' he said.The presenters were posing as the Queen and Prince Charles, seeking information about the condition of the Duchess.
Ms Saldanha put the call through to another nurse, who divulged details of Catherine's recovery that made headlines around the globe.
Ms Saldanha, a 46-year-old mother of two, is believed to have taken her own life.
Mr Holleran denied the station had a cultural problem despite offensive on-air incidents by another of its hosts, Kyle Sandilands, in recent years.
"No, I think you're joining a couple of issues here inappropriately," he said.
"I can only say the prank call is not unusual around the world.
"That style of call, it happens every day in radio around the world.
"No one could have reasonably foreseen what has happened.
"I don't believe there is a cultural problem within 2Day FM."
But he said the station would still review its actions.
"We think that's an appropriate thing to be doing and we'll do it," he said, adding the station would make changes if appropriate.
Mr Holleran said he did not think anyone could have foreseen the tragedy of Ms Saldanha's death after the prank call.
"I think that the day prior, people took it as being a harmless prank in good humour," he said.
"If anyone could have foreseen the circumstances ... I don't think anyone could have."
Opposition leader Tony Abbott described the death of Ms Saldanha as a "terrible tragedy".
"It's a terrible tragedy for all involved, it was a prank that went horribly wrong," the Opposition Leader said.
"I think all we can do is mourn and grieve for everyone involved."
Mr Abbott warned against rushing into increased media regulation as a result of the incident.
"I think it's important that we let the dust settle before we rush into demands for more media regulation," he said.
Read more at The Australian.
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