Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Death of Jacintha Saldanha

What two radio jockeys thought or claim was a prank proved tragic to Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse in King Edward VII Hospital. She was 46, married to Benedict Barboza and mother of two children, Junal Nevile (16) and Lisha (14). She was found dead around 9.35 a.m. GMT on 7/12/2012. The jockeys Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2Day FM, claimed on phone they were Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. They wanted information about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy. Jacintha Saldanha took the call and transferred it to duty nurse who gave the required information. The incident got publicity to radio station and caused embarrassment to royal family and hospital. Many people were outraged at the invasion of privacy of a pregnant woman. The jockeys were happy about the publicity they got.

After the death of Jacintha Saldanha the outrage increased. The jockeys disappeared. Lord Glenarthur, chairman of the hospital, wrote to Southern Cross Austereo, owner of 2DayFM, condemned the hoax for humiliating two caring and dedicated nurses the consequences of which were tragic beyond words and asked him to make sure that the incident will not be repeated. Rhys Holleran, Chief Executive of Southern Cross Austereo, held a press conference in Melbourne. He said the radio station had done nothing illegal. He was wrong. The jockeys committed at least two crimes, impersonation and cheating. These are crimes even if they are committed by many radio stations and have gone unpunished for a long time. The jockeys had recorded the conversation and the management of radio station had approved it before broadcast. Besides jockeys, people who approved the broadcast are guilty of crimes. They all should be prosecuted.

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