The radio station behind a royal prank linked to a nurse's
death is confident it has done nothing illegal, as
advertisers suspend their accounts over the controversy.
Austereo boss Rhys Holleran says the death of the nurse to
whom two Sydney 2Day FM presenters spoke at the London
hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife could not
have been reasonably foreseen.
His comments came as advertisers Coles and Telstra suspended
their advertising with the station and people flocked to
social media to condemn presenters Mel Greig and Michael
Christian, who have been taken off air following the death on
Friday of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46.
Fairfax Media is reporting that 2Day FM has suspended all
advertising, but this cannot immediately be confirmed by AAP.
Ms Saldanha was on duty at the hospital earlier this week
when Greig and Christian telephoned, impersonating the Queen
and Prince Charles and seeking details about the condition of
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
The prank call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before
being broadcast to listeners in Sydney.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances
surrounding Ms Saldanha's death and it's believed she took
her own life.
Mr Holleran said the prank call followed company procedure.
"We're satisfied that that procedure was met," he told
reporters in Melbourne today.
"We're very confident that we haven't done anything illegal.
What happened was incredibly tragic and we're deeply saddened
and we're incredibly affected by that."
Mr Holleran said the presenters were deeply shocked and had
been offered counselling.
"At this time we've agreed they not comment about the
circumstances," he said.
The station and the hosts had decided the show would not
return to air until further notice out of respect for the
Austereo, the owner of 2Day FM, was committed to working with
any authorities investigating the tragedy, he said.
"Our primary concern at this time is for the family of nurse
Mr Holleran said there was no straightforward answer about
when the presenters would return.
"These people aren't machines, they're human beings," he
"We'll make sure their wellbeing is the priority for us."
Meanwhile, Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett called on
Australians to support the radio hosts.
The broadcasting watchdog, the Australian Communications and
Media Authority (ACMA) said it would talk to the station
about the "facts and issues surrounding the prank call".
In May, ACMA warned 2Day FM it could lose its broadcasting
licence for any repeat of offensive on-air comments, after
morning show presenter Kyle Sandilands called a female
journalist a "fat slag" and threatened to "hunt her down".
Meanwhile, a Facebook page condemning the 2Day FM presenters
has been set up, entitled "RIP Jacintha Saldanha. Shame upon
those stupid Australian DJs", and hundreds of people have
taken to Twitter to condemn Greig and Christian, although a
minority are defending them.
News of Ms Saldanha's death was acknowledged by the royal
"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to
learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha," a statement issued
by St James's Palace said.
"Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well
at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and
their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's
family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."
Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse described Ms
Saldanha, married with two children, as a "first-class nurse
who cared diligently for hundreds of patients".
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the
incident as a "terrible tragedy".