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There is no direct connection between the RJs' call and Jacintha's death: PN Vasanti

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Dec 13, 2012 at 04:10pm IST

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Jacintha Saldanha, a 46-year-old nurse of Indian origin in the UK, reportedly committed suicide after falling victim to a prank by Australian radio jockeys Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2Day FM. Greig and Christian impersonated the Queen and the Prince of Wales to extract information about the health of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Should the media shut out such hoax calls or is it a stray case of a prank gone bad? Director of Centre for Media Studies PN Vasanti joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. With hundreds of TV channels which have a very great impact on our society, what will be the direction for regulating media for bad content and malpractices? Asked by: praveen chandra

A. Independent media regulation is required for this. Also more discriminate viewing and media consumption by all of us...

There is no direct connection between the RJs' call and Jacintha's death: PN Vasanti

Jacintha Saldanha case: should the media be more restrained?

Q. Should the media be more restrained? Asked by: Anu

A. Restrain is a difficult concept given the current media structures, stiff competition and commercial dependency... should they need to be restraint - yes - but not feasible in given scenario.

Q. Just because somebody is famous, media should not assume that their private lives are open for scrutiny. The case is a prank that has horribly gone wrong. Media should learn some scruples.. definitely. What say? Asked by: Karthik

A. Media is a reflection of the turmoil in our culture and values. This needs to learning scruples is across all sections specially for the the media :) yes - all - even the famous, have right to privacy.

Q. Madam, do you think RJs are guilty of Jacintha's killing? Asked by: Nandalike

A. There is no direct connection to the RJ call and the death - though once can not rule out that the call did provoke the death. more details on the tragedy need to be known before pronouncing the guilty in this case.

Q. Is there a need for independent media regulatory authority? Asked by: Himanshu

A. Important question that has been debated quite a bit! Yes - an independent media regulatory authority is long overdue in our country. I feel that an independent statutory body that supports and enable self regulation should be a good deterrent and will encourage innovation and quality in our media.

Q. What should the government do to prevent such incidents? Asked by: Smita

A. Governments can serve show cause notices to the RJ/company and penalise such actions/behaviour. I also feel as consumers of media we also have to take a stand and boycott such irresponsible media.

Q. Are there not any set rules for RJs, which can prevent such tragedies? Asked by: Shyam Vadalker

A. Generally RJs are very conscious of what and how they use their voice - their main medium of communication and livelihood. Their credibility and the radio company's credibility is at stake. In very few cases do they ever cross the line. I think instead of setting more rules, we need to be discussing and penalizing such negligence/arrogance - to ensure such tragedies are not repeated.

Q. Are prank calls on radio a violation of media ethics? Asked by: Sunil

A. Prank calls on their own do not violate media ethics - unless they are done in improper way that violates basic human rights (like equity or privacy) - important are the issues of conflict of interest (reason for doing such calls) and getting necessary consent in conducting such calls.

Q. Is it a stray case of a prank gone bad? Asked by: HS

A. This is a good way of describing this particular case. It is also a symptom of larger issues of 24 hours media (television, radio or internet) where the gatekeepers (mostly editors) have become weak. There are no time to cross check facts or follow journalistic codes. Plus there are commercial compulsions to stand out and be noticed with more bizarre and weird ways...

Q. Should the media shut out hoax calls? Asked by: Tiger

A. This is not practical. In the current complex, voluminous and dynamic scenario such shutting out of hoax calls will be impossible. Also just defining what constitutes a hoax call would lead to trampling creative and journalistic liberties.

Q. Do you think the RJs can be blamed for the nurse's death? Asked by: Sasi

A. There is no direct link between the hoax call and the death - yes I do acknowledge that there is some connection but it would be wrong to blame entirely the RJs. Having said this, hoax calls or hoax stories are not new in media - clarifying conflict of interests and getting consent are important prerequisite in such delicate issues to do with privacy or making fun of others...

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