Friday, November 8, 2013

Aussie Radio: 2DayFM Loses Round In Court

Christian, Grieg
The Federal Court of Australia has found that broadcast regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority can determine whether radio station 2DayFM breached its licenses condition or committed a criminal offense when it aired what has become known as the Royal  prank call last December.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 2DayFM owner Southern Cross Austereo had asked the court to find that ACMA was overreaching its powers if it determined a breach of 2DayFM’s license. Instead SCA argued the courts, rather than broadcast regulator, should determine if any local laws had been broken.

In December 2012, 2Day FM dj’s Michael Christian and Mel Greig called the hospital where Kate Middleton was staying while suffering from morning sickness. 

Jacintha Saldanha
During the on-air call, the duo pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William's father Prince Charles. British nurse Jacintha Saldanha took the call and fell for the ruse, passing the phone to a colleague who divulged information regarding Middleton’s condition. The prank made global headlines and Saldanha died of an apparent suicide several days later.

"The ACMA welcomes this decision," said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman. "It provides clarity over the operation of the license condition that prohibits broadcasters from using their broadcasting service in the commission of an offense. The Federal Court confirmed that the ACMA has the power to form an opinion as to whether a broadcaster has breached the license condition, independently of any conviction for a criminal offense."

ACMA is now set to finalize its investigation.

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