Aus radio DJs were trained `not to air any prank calls`

Indian-origin nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, had died after a suspected suicide after she was fooled by 2Day FM hosts.

Melbourne: Two Australian radio DJs, whose hoax call to a UK hospital treating Prince William`s pregnant wife Kate led to the death of an Indian-origin nurse, had been trained "not to air any prank calls without permission" and were now "playing dumb", a media report said on Wednesday.

Quoting a source at 2Day FM station, `The Age` reported that all presenters, producers and content managers were compelled to undergo "decency and standards" training every six months, in compliance with a ruling from the industry watchdog.

Indian-origin nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, had died after a suspected suicide last Friday after she was fooled by 2Day FM hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who had made the prank call to the King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone, central London and obtained private details of Kate`s acute morning sickness by pretending to be the Queen and William`s father Prince Charles.

"I find it hard to believe that if you scored the scoop of the year in entertainment radio, you`d be so flippant as to not be aware of the approval process. You`d be asking questions every step of the way because you`d be trying to get it approved as quickly as possible. You`re hardly going to sit back and wait," the source was quoted as saying by the paper.

"These two presenters are broadcast professionals. They can`t play dumb now," the source said, adding "I do feel sorry for them, though."

"I think they`re taking the fall for the whole thing. There are senior people above them who would have approved this and so far, none of them have admitted their involvement."

The training sessions, run by 2Day FM`s in-house lawyer Tania Petsinis, include the specific instruction "not to air prank calls unless they get the subject`s permission ... If there is doubt about a prank call, there is a clear chain of command in management that we have to escalate the call through", the report quoted the source as saying.

The training sessions also advised on "how to not cause distress to callers ... There is a lot of stuff about taste and decency," it said.

The sessions were incepted after a lie detector scandal in 2009 when a 14-year-old girl disclosed on air that she was raped.

"If employees are hired between the twice-yearly sessions, they must have one-on-one training before they start," the source said.