Tracy Grimshaw’s interview with 2DAY FM’s Mel Greig and Michael Christian has raised more questions than answers and the main question people now want the answer to is who authorised the broadcast of the prank call that was tied to the death of Jacintha Saldanha?
Michael Christian and Mel Greig made it very clear in the Tracy Grimshaw interview that people way above them make the decisions for what goes to air and made a decision about that call.
Repeatedly during the A Current Affair interview Michael Christian talked about “the process” and “the filter”.
“We didn’t have that discussion,” Mel said. “We just did the process of what we do. We just handed it on to them and they have the discussion”.
“Who do you hand it onto?” Tracy asked.
“I don’t honestly know the process,” Mel said.
“Presumably it goes to your producer?” Tracy asked.
“There is a whole team of people that work with us” said Mel. “And far above,” added Michael.
So there is a producer, there is a team of other people. Did you mean lawyers, management? Are they involved,” probed Grimshaw.
“People far above and I am 100% honestly saying we are not privy to what happens,” Michael answered. “This call is no different from anything else. Regardless of the content or the context or what’s been recorded it’s the same process and I am certainly not aware of what filters it needs to pass through. It is passed on and we are told either yah or nah and they don’t give us too much more than that.”
So who is above a person behind the mic at 2DAY FM? For starters there is the 2DAY FM Director of Content Derek ‘DB’ Bargwanna. Above him is the Head of Content for the Southern Cross Austereo network Craig Bruce. He answers to Guy Dobson, Director of Metropolitan Radio. He answers to CEO, Rhys Hollerman, the man in charge of damage control these past few days.
According to the Southern Cross Austereo Annual Report for 2012 Guy Dobson “oversees the content creation for SCA”. For that he was paid $1,081,096 in 2011/2012. Rhys Holleran was paid $1,302,005, according to the Southern Cross Austereo annual report for 2012 lodged at the Australian Stock Exchange and publically available at asx.com.au.
Following the A Current Affair interview with Michael and Mel it is painfully obvious that there is a process in play at Southern Cross Austereo well above their heads.
The question to be now asked is who made the decision to air a prank call without the approval of the victims of the prank, as per clause 6.1 of the Codes of Practices and Guidelines set out by Commercial Radio Australia.
The well-paid executives of Southern Cross Austereo may well be advised to also re-read clause 1.1 (e) “A licensee must not broadcast a program which in all of the circumstances is likely to incite hatred against, or serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, any person or group because of age, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexual preferences, religion, transgender status or disability”.
And Clause 9.1 (a) “a licensee must not broadcast a program which, in all of the circumstances: treats participants in live hosted entertainment programs in a highly demeaning or highly exploitative manner”.