On murder by pranking

It is not the “prank” which disgusts.

It is the lack of thought by two giggling radio DJ’s and their managers. It is their juvenile behaviour. It is their lack of intelligence. It is their betrayal of the trust shown by someone trying to be helpful. And it is the utter disregard for what their victims might suffer.

It is the lack of thought for the consequences of deliberately trying to break the trust extended by the unfortunate staff who were the butt of their call. It should not be beyond the intelligence of even Australian radio DJ’s or their boss – Rhys Holleran – to have realised that in the event of their prank succeeding, some poor staff member would have faced the sack. It should not have been beyond their little intelligence that revealing the private medical details of a mother -to-be – no matter how famous the person – was a fundamental breach of an individual’s privacy. They deny the sapiens in homo sapiens.

Once many years ago my 5 year-old son fell on the ice and suffered a concussion while I was travelling in the US. He was kept in hospital overnight and my wife spent the night with him. By the time I got the message it was about 2am back home. I called the hospital and an extremely helpful nurse filled me in, reassured me and then woke my wife so I could speak with her. I am forever grateful to that nurse who took me at my word as to who I was. How else can a nurse – or a hospital –  operate except in an atmosphere of trust? How else could Jacintha Saldanha have reacted unless the hospital had routed all calls from all worried relatives through some faceless security system?

It was murder by pranking and Mel Greig and Michael Christian are guilty. Their legal advisors and the station management are also guilty. Jacintha Saldanha was their victim. This crime carries no legal penalty but it was a betrayal of trust. It was – in my book -criminal behaviour. Maybe it cannot be used to generalise about the media and their methods but it certainly does add to my view that the media are untrustworthy and many of their employees are unintelligent and unthinking. I doubt that they are capable of regulating themselves.

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2 Responses to “On murder by pranking”

  1. With malice aforethought « The k2p blog Says:

    […] Saldanha filled in at the reception that night she had no reason to expect to be humiliated for doing what any conscientious nurse would have done. She should not have […]

  2. David Nicholas Says:

    The prank call made to the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London which precipitated the death of Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was one which highlights the growing divide between responsible journalism and the selfish, myopic and profit driven motives of an institution
    willing to sacrifice consequences for gratification. In addressing the
    actions of djs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, Rhys Holleran, CEO
    of Southern Cross Austereo and owner of 2Day FM, responded by
    saying that, though regrettable, no laws were broken. Sadly, his
    comment is testament to the erosion of ethics in a world
    preoccupied with self-gratification and the allure of financial reward.

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