Should the ‘hoax’ Aussie presenters be vilified?

Mel Greig and Michael Christian from Sydney station 2Day FM

Mel Greig and Michael Christian from Sydney station 2Day FM

What started as a hoax for entertainment, ended as a tragedy. But the question is: did the hoax cause ‘suicide’ or are we just looking to blame someone?

If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m referring to the alleged suicide of Jacintha Saldanha; a nurse who answered a hoax call from Aussie radio presenters trying to snoop information about the Duchess of Cambridge in hospital. Jacintha didn’t answer their questions. She simply transferred the call through to another member of hospital staff who gave confidential information about the duchess to someone who was posing as the queen over the phone.

Prank calls have been a source of radio and even TV entertainment for decades. High profile cases like that of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand pranking Andrew Sachs caused public outrage. It called into question the careers of two renowned celebs.

However, in the case of the Aussie presenters; did they do wrong? Almost on a weekly basis I’ve heard presenters make hoax calls either to celebrities or the public, and they have been very entertaining to listen to. Admittedly, they haven’t been of the nature of this particular hoax. But then it’s not often you get people desperate for information of the future heir to the British monarchy.

It’s early days so no one can say why Jacintha committed suicide. Was she under pressure from work for passing this call through to her colleague? Was she being mistreated or worried about losing her job? Maybe she had issues in her personal life. We simply don’t know at this stage.

What shocks me is the fact that the Aussie presenters are being put under scrutiny and possibly have lost hope of a career in broadcast. Yet the person who divulged private and confidential information about the duchess’ stay in hospital, is nameless and not even mentioned in news reports!

The hospital also has some answering to do. Don’t they have protocols in place to deal with calls from alleged family members, regardless of how high status the person claims to be? Shouldn’t Jacintha and the nurse who divulged information, be trained on such matters? Why hasn’t the hospital done so much as visit Jacintha’s grief stricken family rather than convey their condolences over the phone?

The fact that medical information about the duchess; the wife of the future King of Britain, was disclosed is one issue. But it implies that if calls like this are frequently answered in the same manner then surely random people must call about patients all the time and be given private information.

It’s such a shame that joyful news of William and Kate’s pregnancy has been eclipsed by this tragedy. It’s possible the baby will be a reminder of Jacintha’s suicide. But more than anything I feel for the family who has lost a wife, a mother, a daughter and sister. My thoughts go out to them.


Where do you draw the line between office banter and personal talk?

office gossipWe spend more time with colleagues than our families. No surprise then that so many relationships kindle in the workplace!

Naturally if you spend so long with certain people, you will be inclined to share your personal life (all be it limited) with them.

But when talking to colleagues, and often your seniors – where do you draw the line when “opening up” about your personal life?

Some people will refrain from giving much away at all. Yet they’ll be more than happy to hear all the weird and wonderful gossip about their peers’ lives. Others need little encouragement to flaunt their extra-work activities (and such news is not always welcome!)

How does it make you feel when you hear a colleague talking about their children, the in-laws, maybe even their sex life? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Are you eager to know as long as you’re not expected to divulge? Or couldn’t you care less?

Sometimes we give away more than we mean to when we open up at work. It could even come back to haunt you! It’s probably worth remembering before you down those drinks at the Christmas party!