Saturday 18 November 2017

Aussie radio giant slammed for award to royal prank DJ

2Day FM radio presenters Michael Christian and Mel Greig (Metropolitan Police/PA)
2Day FM radio presenters Michael Christian and Mel Greig (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Michael Sin

AN AUSTRALIAN government minister has slammed as ‘bad taste’ an award given to one of the radio presenters who staged a royal prank call linked to the suicide of a London nurse.


Michael Christian was awarded the title of "Top Jock" by his employer, radio network Southern Cross Austereo .

He  was the joint winner in one of the categories of an internal competition that recognises the company's "best in the land". He won a trip to Los Angeles as part of his prize.

Christian and his colleague Mel Greig made a prank call to the London hospital treating Prince William's wife, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, in December 2012.

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha put the call through to a colleague who, despite the DJs' unconvincing accents, disclosed details of the duchess's medical condition.

Saldanha was found hanged in her apartment days after the call.

"To be seen to be rewarding people so soon after such an event, I think, is just in bad taste," National Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said.

Christian was in his first week at the Sydney station 2DayFM when the prank was staged.

"Regardless of all that's happened in the past few months, I'm still at the top of my game," Christian said in a statement. "It felt good to see my name at the top of the final leader board."

Following a public backlash, Southern Cross promised to donate advertising revenue to a fund for Saldanha's family with a minimum contribution of A$500,000 (€370,000).



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