I suspect that all my readers will know of the tragic death of a nurse in the UK following a hoax call by presenters of an Australian radio station that was subsequently broadcast. Unfortunately, it rapidly went commonwealth wide, if not global, because of the interest in the Royal Family. I first knew about it early on Saturday morning when the BBC chose to cover it (I was listening to 5-Live as I went to get the weekly shop). At the time the presenters were quoted as claiming that it was the easiest prank ever made… Sadly – the first step to making an innocent person feel that they had made an unforgiveable mistake. Apparently, the presenters also felt that it was good to brag about it on twitter – did they not consider that everyone (except me) has a twitter account and that their victim was probably seeing every word? No, because all they were thinking about was furthering their careers. An example of Bullying of the worst sort 😦
The fact that the BBC chose to cover it doesn’t help, and I believe that some questions need to be asked there – I guess their get out is the Twittering which they will claim had made it public knowledge. But maybe an ‘outraged’ approach from them might have helped.
As for the company involved: When the CEO of a company stands up and claims that there was no way to predict the tragic outcome of a prank carried out by radio presenters in his employ you can immediately smell the burning rubber of an attempted getaway from any obligations. Actually, his people should at the very least have been able to predict that the nurse involved might lose her job as a result – but I guess nurses losing their jobs is ok as long as the presenters and the CEO further their careers 😦 Anyone at that level of a company has a responsibility to both his employees and to the wider public. To hear him spout ‘No laws were broken’ is a disgrace… I understand that unintentionally causing death due to an unforeseen result of your actions comes within the criminal law of Involuntary Manslaughter – so actually, in the UK at least, a law has been broken. But, what a way to respond to the situation! – The man is clearly without any consideration beyond his radio show rankings 😦
Whether such a case will ever be brought is obviously in the hands of the Prosecution Services of both countries – but I hope that it does go to the courts and that he will be one of those brought to trial! The real guilt for this tragedy must rest at the door of the CEO and his team of people who determine whether something should be put on air. Their duty was to protect the young journalists, if not their unwitting victim, from the dangers of their actions. They failed and the death of a Nurse and Mother of two along with the destruction of two young people’s careers rests firmly at their door 😦
Of course – should it go to trial, it will have to be in Australia. It would be impossible to get a fair trial over here (you can tell that by how angry a normally relaxed person like me is feeling at the moment).
Sadly, the first people who we all forget when something like this happens are the family. I would like to express my sympathy to the family of Jacintha Saldanha – our prayers are with them at this time.