'Radio hosts deserve our support'
There was nothing wrong with Mel Grieg and Michael Christian's 2DayFM prank and the radio hosts should be given support, says Chairman of beyondblue, Jeff Kennett. Lifeline: 13 11 14.PT2M29S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2b2nf 620 349 December 8, 2012
The Sydney radio presenters behind the prank call that has been linked to a British nurse's death are said to be "fragile" and undergoing intensive psychological counselling.
Southern Cross Austereo has expressed concerns about the mental health of 2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian following global condemnation after Jacintha Saldanha's death on Friday.
Greig and Christian are being given intensive counselling to deal with the tragic circumstances, an Austereo spokeswoman told AAP on Sunday.
Sorry ... Mel Greig and Michael Christian. Photo: Twitter
She said the pair will speak to the media, but the timing will depend on their state of mind, which she described as "fragile".
The radio duo has been confronted with a barrage of abusive and threatening messages via social media following the death of Ms Saldanha, who took their call to London's King Edward VII Hospital.
Greig and Christian impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles and sought details about the condition of the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, who was being treated for severe morning sickness.
Jacintha Saldanha ... nurse who picked up the call and is believed to have taken her own life. Photo: AFP/Metropolitan Police
Police in London have said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Ms Saldanha's death.
A Facebook page, RIP Jacintha Saldanha. Shame upon those stupid Australian DJs, has been bombarded with messages of condemnation since being launched on Saturday.
While some of the posts target the DJs directly, others suggest criticism should be aimed at the practice of radio phone pranks rather than personalities.
"Its a complete stupid...stupid...stupid prank,no respect to others by the radio presenters especially involving the royal family. All i can say,its so sad that now a husband/children has lost a wife/mother in a tragic situation...RIP jacintha," reads one post.
Another says: "It is time we stopped practical jokes/pranks just for the sake of laughng at someone elses expense and getting good ratings..."
"The DJs did what radio show hosts have done for decades--there was no malice, no intent to harm, simply a prank call which at the time seemed pretty funny. No one could have predicted this type of tragic overreaction on the nurse's part," reads a third post.
After a backlash from advertisers, Austereo pulled all ads from 2Day FM until at least Monday.
Austereo chief executive Rhys Holleran said on Saturday Ms Saldanha's death was tragic but could not have been reasonably foreseen, and 2Day FM had done nothing illegal in recording and broadcasting the call.
Meanwhile NSW Police say London officers have been in contact through the Australian Federal Police over the 2Day FM prank.
"I have to stress that the London Metropolitan Police have not actually asked for any action to be taken at this stage," Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas told reporters in Sydney.
"They simply wanted to touch base, raise the issues, make us aware of them," he said, adding that the call was fairly routine procedure.
■ For help or information, call Suicide Helpline on 1300 651 251 or Lifeline on 131 114, or visit beyondblue.org.au