ACMA releases report into ‘Royal Prank call’, confirming 2DayFM breach of licence

royal prankstersThe media watchdog has finally released its report into ‘the Royal Prank call’ finding that radio station 2DayFM breached the condition of its broadcast licence over the secret recording of a private conversation involving the nurse caring for Kate Middleton.

The prank call in December 2012 caused controversy when nurse Jacintha Saldanha took her own life after transferring a prank call by 2DayFM hosts Mel Greig and Michael ‘MC’ Christian to the hospital ward that was treating then-pregnant Duchess of Cambridge for acute morning sickness.

The findings published today, comes following an extensive court case which went all the way to the High Court, which found the Australian Communications and Media Authority did have the power to find 2DayFM breached the codes of practice.

Today’s report finds that the station breached rules which prohibit the “broadcast of statements by identifiable persons without their consent” and prohibit “participants in live-hosted entertainment programs from being treated in a highly demeaning or highly exploitative manner”.

“This is a case where the licensee has breached an important community safeguard,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘The community rightly expects that broadcasters will not record and broadcast these sorts of private conversations when consent has not been given.’

The report also found that 2DayFM had not breached separate clauses relating to standards of decency and invasion of privacy, as well as additional license conditions imposed on 2DayFM following Kyle Sandilands’ 2011 attack on a News Corp Australia journalist.

The ACMA’s investigation has been the subject of ongoing legal challenge by Today FM and last month the High Court found that the media watchdog had the authority to make an “administrative determination” that the station had committed a criminal offence.

The ACMA will now formally consider what sanctions should be applied to 2DayFM. When questioned on the possible punishment last year, Chapman would not rule out temporarily suspending 2DayFM’s licence for a number of hours, which could cost the station around $100,000 per day in ad revenue.

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 Jack Fisher


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