Friday, 7 December 2012

"How do you know I'm not a radio station?"

The Prince of Wales was asked by an ITV crew about the news that the Duchess was discharged from the King Edward VII Hospital, having spent three nights there being treated for severe pregnancy sickness. Making a reference to the hoax call to the Duchess's hospital, when an Australian DJ pretended to be him, Prince Charles joked: "How do you know I'm not a radio station? I'm thrilled, marvellous. It's a very nice thought to become a grandfather in my old age, if I can say so." The comment was caught on camera and can be watched:

The Australian radio station that made a prank call to the hospital where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was staying had previously caused controversy by forcing a girl to admit she had been raped. (For details see The Daily Telegraph.)

Australia’s media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) carried out an investigation and found the comments were deeply derogatory and offensive and amounted to a breach of the radio code of practice.

The prank was labelled "childish and embarrassing" by almost two-thirds of Australians in an online poll.

The AML issued a statement concerning the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha:
The stress caused by the prank calls of 2DayFM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who telephoned the King Edward VII Hospital posing as the Queen and Prince Charles in an endeavour to actually speak with The Duchess of Cambridge, seems to have resulted in the death, possibly by suicide, of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who was obviously terribly upset by the deception played on her. It is now no longer a 'prank' but a tragedy.

The Australian Monarchist League condemns any person whether in the media or otherwise making phone calls falsely pretending to be someone else, whether the person imitated is The Queen or Mrs Bloggs down the road.

League officials had personally encountered these sorts of hoax calls during the republican debate. It seems that radio presenters think that any monarchist or royal is fair game, regardless of the outcome.

We had already written to the Chief of Staff of the 2DayFM Studios requesting that this practice be banned.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Ms Saldanha and also to The Duchess of Cambridge who must, herself, be so obviously upset at the tragic outcome of this deception.

Philip Benwell

National Chair

Australian Monarchist League

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