Monday, December 10, 2012

Jacintha Saldanha

The storm continues to rage. There is a belief that the media are whipping it up. I don't think so. Most media outlets, including social media , are discussing this incessantly and deeply but in a considered way from all angles . Some say we should be paying attention to other things in the world. Not at the moment. Not right now. We are upset that Jacintha Saldanha has lost her life. She was a nurse. A mother . A caring person. We want the media to realise that this is the real story. Jacintha Saldanha won't be spending Christmas with her family and her family will not be spending Christmas with her. It is irrelevant what frame of mind she may or may not have had leading up to the hoax call. What is relevant is what has happened now - to her, to her family, to her colleagues. Currently we do not know why she is no longer here. There are assumptions about what occurred and eventually we might know the truth. We are upset because the news came after Daniel Morcombe's funeral and the good feeling we had as a nation to stand by as citizens, friends, media and care for a family that had been through so much. Then we found out  what happened to Jacintha Saldanha and it was profoundly sad. Would she be here had the call not gone through? Would we make a call like that to Barack Obama's or Vladimir Putin's private hospital where their child was being treated and then broadcast the information?  That some think it didn't matter because it was the British royal family demonstrates the cultural lack of concern here for a nation which has given us a constitutional monarchy. What if I pretended to be grandma and rang the hospital where your son's wife was being treated, got personal and private information and then made that public? It just doesn't sit well, does it? In South Australia you cannot record and publish information without consent:

LISTENING AND SURVEILLANCE DEVICES ACT 1972 - SECT 5

5—Prohibition on communication or publication
        (1)         A person must not knowingly communicate or publish information or material derived from the use (whether by that person or another person) of a listening device in contravention of section 4.
Maximum penalty: $10 000 or imprisonment for 2 years.
        (2)         This section does not prevent the communication or publication of information or material derived from the use of a listening device in contravention of section 4—
            (a)         to a person who was a party to the conversation to which the information or material relates; or
            (b)         with the consent of each party to the conversation to which the information or material relates; or
            (c)         for the purposes of a relevant investigation or a relevant proceeding relating to that contravention of section 4 or a contravention of this section involving the communication or publication of that information or material.

That is South Australia. Britain has just been through so much heartache and anguish over the Murdoch press and so their sensitivity to something like this will be raw.  There has been a history of prank shows on television and on radio all around the world.  Normally people are informed during the interviews, like on Candid Camera.

There is also Occupational Health and Safety to consider. I am not sure what the current British practice is, but in South Australia workplaces have to be physically and psychologically safe. Psychological safety is generally covered by protocols to ensure workplace safety. This incident has highlighted well the need to address all forms of risk management in a connected world. Hospitals normally put family members through, though. They don't put friends through necessarily and there is one hospital here in Adelaide which will always ask the patient if they wish to take the call from someone or they will ask you if you wish to take the call from the patient.We also have to remember that we don't have royalty but Britain does. We have to have some cultural understanding of social moraes in other countries if we are connecting internationally.

What has also bothered us is this radio station doesn't seem to have learnt from the Alan Jones incident  earlier this year . People like the Duke and Duchess of Kent and they were concerned for Kate. It was even bringing women out to discuss her condition because it wasn't just morning sickness. We were actually getting an understanding of what the condition was and now that has all been shut down, so yes, people are angry. There is also the belief that media just cannot leave the women close to prince William alone. They are hounding the women he loves. He lost his mother because of it and already Kate has started to become scrutinised and abused in the same way.

So if the world is angry, if people are beside themselves, if they want to keep talking about it then that needs to carry on until we resolve what needs to be resolved. Our first thoughts are for Jacintha Saldanha because she needs to be remembered for who she was and what she stood for. We then need to consider whether we want to hurt anyone else. I don't think we do, so proceeding with caution would be prudent.