The two Australian radio presenters behind the hoax call that led to the death of Jacintha Saldhana, an Indian-origin nurse of King Edward VII hospital here, were taken off the air on Saturday amid a growing public backlash against their employer — the Sydney-based 2DYFM station — and a strong formal protest by the hospital which called their action “truly appalling.”
Rhys Holleran, the chief executive of the company that owns the station, announced that Mel Greig and Michael Christian, the DJs responsible for the prank call, would not be returning until further notice.
The station also suspended all advertising until Monday as advertisers, including Australia’s largest supermarket chain, started pulling their ads.
The announcement came amid reports that the hospital was reported to be considering legal action. The hospital’s chief executive, John Lofthouse, said he had “received advice that what the Australian broadcasters did may well have broken the law.”
Mr. Holleran, however, insisted that he did not think any laws had been broken. “I think that prank calls as a craft in radio had been going on for decades. They are done worldwide and no one could reasonably have foreseen what happened,” he said.
The two DJs called the hospital early on Tuesday morning posing as the Queen and Prince Charles to obtain details of the medical condition of Kate William, the Duchess of Cambridge, who was being treated there for pregnancy-related sickness.
Ms. Saldhana, then on reception duty, took the call and transferred it to another nurse who unwittingly disclosed the details of the Duchess’ condition. Two days later, she was found dead in her house in an apparent suicide.