IT may have begun as a harmless prank, but when British nurse Jacintha Saldinha took her own life after answering a hoax call from the 2DayFM DJs it sparked worldwide debate on such calls and the privacy and rights of those inadvertently caught up. Britain already has some of the toughest laws in the land after a number of embarrassing gaffes and MARTIN CAMPBELL one of the country’s chief architects for their laws tells European Correspondent CHARLES MIRANDA Britain’s media has some hard questions to answer but so too it’s about time Australia gets its house in order.

Quite the cocktail of ingredients for inflaming a situation…

“QUITE clearly if the radio prank did not breach broadcasting laws in Australia it should have done. It’s actually as simple as that.

It was certainly a breach of broadcast laws of the regulator Ofcom here in the UK simply because for all prank calls these days you do need the permission of those people involved if there is no public interest defence and there is no public defence on this one. So I would have thought that it should be in breach of laws. They didn’t look at what they were doing.

I know it sounds very spoil sport but I helped write the code in the UK that actually demanded written permission is required from people if it is to result in some distress or public ridicule. This clearly falls under that bracket. That needs to be prevented, and if the Australian laws don’t prevent this they need to be changed fairly quickly.

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  • stephen says:

    04:59pm | 02/01/13

    And the crack Scotland Yard are right on to it, too. There’s a team of them, right as we speak, trowlling through the archives of the British Library, just to see if the horrible couple of DJs’ have said anything else that has causes death or injury. Never mind that… Read more »

  • Ray says:

    03:47pm | 02/01/13

    Our ‘holier than thou’ ABC is just as hypocritical, as it has persistently been blasting the FM station concerned   for the tragic happenings. The 2DayFM DJs’  prank was typical of the pranks that the ABC Chasers team used to get up to. Read more »


We already have enough laws, right down to inconsequential matters such as the colour of cigarette packets and what we’re allowed to wear on our heads when we ride bicycles. Beyond laws, we have conventions and standards that further guide behaviour. Barely any element of our lives escapes regulation.

The decision to broadcast the prank went beyond the two new DJs… network boss Rhys Holleran pictured this weekend.

Yet the inevitable response when something goes wrong is to demand still more regulation, even in cases where regulation already exists.

The UK, for example, is currently trying to stay awake during endless analysis of the Leveson inquiry into the media – an inquiry that ended up recommending new media rules on top of rules currently in place. As Private Eye editor Ian Hislop wondered: “Why can’t we just enforce the laws? The ones we already have against phone hacking, harassment, libel, bribery etc etc.”

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  • St. Michael says:

    06:17pm | 10/12/12

    So they say.  At what time, 5:40 in the morning for England? Ring five times and cheerily announce that no one was there? Read more »

  • bsw says:

    06:09pm | 10/12/12

    Tim Blair is a champion Well done! Good article Read more »


What a tragic and shocking development in a story that until now had been the butt of even Prince Charles’s jokes.

Probably in hiding ... Mel Greig and Michael Christian

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, the King Edward VII Hospital nurse who was the first to fall for 2DayFM’s prank Queen call the other day is dead. She’s a wife and a mother and her family, friends and colleagues must be utterly beside themselves.

We don’t know why she’s dead but right now a lot of people are putting the blame at the feet of Sydney DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian. The pair has taken themselves off air and shut down their Twitter accounts but that will not be enough to quell the growing bi-hemisphere storm of outrage being directed their way.

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  • Garry says:

    04:57pm | 08/12/12

    Cause and affect, its not the guns that kill but the person pulling the trigger, oh wait, if you know the cigarette kills you dont have to buy it from us and you use the same excuses, this is what we need in the media apologists. They ridiculed the woman,… Read more »

  • Gayle says:

    04:54pm | 08/12/12

    I think that the DJs were responsible for the death.  They are both extremely irresponsible, and so is the Radio Station for allowing the prank to go to air.  They deserve all the chastisement that is coming their way. Read more »


The Chaser was responsible for some fine political mischief.

Most notoriously, its prankster cast exposed the absurdity of overly conspicuous (yet underly effective) security when their fake motorcade breached the restricted zone in the heart of fortress Sydney during the 2007 APEC summit.

One of the show’s cast, Craig Reucassel, is now hosting an Australian remake of the UK stunt show Balls of Steel. Screening on the Comedy Channel, it features a series of characters who compete to out-prank unwitting members of the public.

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  • TimB says:

    09:25pm | 02/05/11

    No Richo, that was the follow up. The first one from the week before was not “fluffy”. Read more »

  • richo says:

    08:24pm | 02/05/11

    @timb: it was a fluff piece which involved Anthony Mundine. it was so soft and fluffy and , as usual, not funny. Read more »


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