U.K. Investigates Channel 4 Coverage of Kate Middleton Prank Call

ofcom - H 2012

The news item aired just hours after a nurse was found dead following a prank call from Australian radio hosts.

LONDON – U.K. media regulator Ofcom is investigating Channel 4 News after complaints about a news item about a prank call from Australian radio hosts about Kate Middleton.

The news item replayed the opening parts of the prank call made by Australian radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian just hours after hospital worker Jacintha Saldanha, who had transferred the call to the nurse treating Middleton, had been found dead in an apparent suicide.

The U.K. regulator received a brace of complaints about the news update that aired on Dec. 7 on Channel 4's flagship news show and was produced by news provider ITN.

Ofcom is investigating the news item to see if it caused harm and offense under its rules that require that "generally accepted standards" be applied to news broadcasts to provide "adequate protection for members of the public from…harmful and/or offensive material." The rules also warn against the use of audio or film footage of people in a "personal tragedy."

The DJs had called the hospital were Middleton was treated and pretended to be members of the royal household looking for an update on Middleton's health. Greig and Christian pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.