The Telegraph and Guardian reported conflicting information about the employment of the two Australian hoax DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian. As iMediaEthics has written, the pair were behind a hoax phone call to Kate Middleton’s hospital last month, and the nurse who answered the phone at the hospital was later found dead from suicide.
Both British papers reported on the status of Greig and Christian’s show, which has been canceled and replaced. But according to the Guardian, the pair are still employed at the station, 2 Day FM, while the Telegraph reported they were “axed by their radio station.”
iMediaEthics fact checked with 2Day FM parent company Southern Cross Austereo to find out the true story.
PR Manager Vicki Heath told iMediaEthics by email that Greig and Christian “are still employed” and that their show “was cancelled as per a statement last year.” iMediaEthics wrote in December about 2Day FM’s decision to cancel the show and suspend the pair, as you may remember.
Heath noted that the news about the station instead is that it has announced a new show called “The Bump.” As the Guardian explained, “since [their] programme was taken off air in December, a music-based show without a host DJ has been playing in its timeslot” so this program is the replacement.
Heath also gave iMediaEthics a statement from Southern Cross Austereo’s CEO, Rhys Holleran, that confirms the status of Greig and Christian’s employment, reading:
“We look forward to Mel and MC returning to work when the time is right, in roles that make full use of their talents – we will discuss future roles with them when they are ready.”
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Meanwhile, the UK Crown Prosecution Service released a statement Feb. 1 that it won’t be charging the two hosts, the Associated Press reported. According to the statement, from Malcolm McHaffie, Deputy Head of Special Crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that based on the Metropolitan Police Service’s “file of evidence” on the case, they wouldn’t charge the pair because it wasn’t “in the public interest.” The statement reads in part:
“We have concluded that there is no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter and that although there is some evidence to warrant further investigation of offences under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003, no further investigation is required because any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest.”
Further, the CPS acknowledged the call was just a “prank” gone wrong and that even if it had decided to charge the hosts, they couldn’t “extradite” the hosts “from Australia in respect of the potential offences in question.”
According to the Independent, the hospital’s CEO John Lofthouse said it doesn’t have any “comment on this matter” to not charge the hosts and that the hospital, King Edward VII, “will continue to support the family of much-loved nurse Jacintha Saldanha.” iMediaEthics has asked Southern Cross Austereo for comment on the decision against charging and will update with any response.
There have been a couple of other cases in the past year where the police have decided against charging the media because of the public interest. In May 2012, the CPS decided against charging Guardian reporter Amelia Hill and her source in the police over leaks to Hill for her reporting on the News of the World phone hacking scandal. The CPS said at the time that in that case, “the public interest outweighs the overall criminality alleged.”
In June 2012, the CPS advised the police against charging Guardian journalist David Leigh after a 2006 story on phone hacking of his admitting to having “used some of those questionable methods” was re-circulated. The CPS was told charging Leigh was “not in the public interest.”