Verdict Handed Down To SCA For Royal Prank Call

Verdict Handed Down To SCA For Royal Prank Call
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Radio network Southern Cross Austereo’s station 2DayFM will remain on air following the inquest from the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) about the infamous ‘royal prank’ call.

The ACMA and 2DayFM came to a set of actions to undertake after the ACMA found the station had breached the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice And Guidelines 2011.

The actions that will be undertaken require 2DayFM to air a three hour special program to promote media ethics and raise awareness of the risk of bullying, depression and anxiety. Advertising within the program will be suspended or the proceeds will be donated to charity.

All presenters and management will undertake an ethical and legal training program.

The ACMA will also impose an additional license condition on the station, which will elevate clause 6.1, one of the clauses 2DayFM was found to have breached.

The clause “prohibits the broadcast of statements by identifiable persons without their knowledge or consent”.

The condition now sees the clause heightened and specifies the station “will not broadcast the words of an identifiable person unless that person has (a) been informed in advance that the words may be broadcast or (b) if recorded without the person’s knowledge, they have consented to the broadcast of the words.

“The combined approach of the special broadcast and targeted training program, together with the imposition of a new licence condition, presents a positive alternative to what would have otherwise been a brief suspension of 2DayFM’s licence,” said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman. “This is a much more constructive way of ensuing future compliance by 2DayFM with important community safeguards.”

A full statement from SCA about the actions is below.

Radio station 2DayFM’s owner, Today FM Sydney Pty Ltd (“the Company”) will implement a range of actions agreed with the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) in response to the ACMA’s findings in 2014 on the “royal prank call”.

The “royal prank call” occurred in 2012 when 2DayFM presenters imitating Prince Charles and Her Majesty the Queen made a hoax call to the London Hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for morning sickness.

The Company accepts the ACMA’s finding that 2DayFM breached certain provisions of the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice and Guidelines 2011 (the Codes) and the licence conditions under which it operates.

Chairman of Southern Cross Austereo, Mr Peter Bush, said that while the Company had previously contested the ACMA’s power to find that the station had breached the Codes and its licence conditions, he was very appreciative of the forthright but constructive discussions he and the ACMA Chairman, Mr Chris Chapman, had recently held to resolve the matter.

“It goes without question that 2DayFM and its presenters intended no harm to anyone as a result of the prank call. We accept the ACMA’s finding that 2DayFM was in breach when it failed to obtain consent from the nurses involved before broadcasting the recording of the prank call.

“While both NSW State and Commonwealth police decided the matter should not be prosecuted and the station did not identify the people on the call by name, we accept the ACMA’s view that consent of parties must be obtained before such calls are broadcast.

“2Day FM deeply regrets and apologises for its breaches and has agreed with the ACMA several actions that will be taken in response to the matter,” Mr Bush said.

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