Catherine Ross

In the week or so following the publication of the Leveson Report, two things – both part of the same story – have happened to highlight the need for press standards.

First, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that they are expecting a baby. Second, a nurse appears to have taken her own life after being duped by Australian radio presenters during a prank call.

Subsequently, the presenters in question deleted their Twitter accounts and went into hiding after receiving death threats.

Let’s take the first part of the story.

Kate Middleton, as we best know her, was admitted to hospital after suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Essentially, this means she was throwing up so much she became dehydrated and needed fluids and nutrients administered by drip.

The Duke and Duchess have announced the pregnancy at just eight weeks. Early pregnancy is a risky time for both mother and baby. Many couples wait until after their 12-week scan before going public with the happy news.

I can only assume that the Palace felt the announcement was necessary because Kate was hospitalised and they couldn’t prevent leaks or speculation.

Kate and William have my sympathy. Those early weeks of pregnancy can be a torrid enough time without having the entire world waving cameras in your face and wanting minute-by-minute updates on your health and status.

Which brings us on to the second part of the story.

A nurse caring for the Duchess took and transferred a phone call from Australian DJs who pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles.

Now, I don’t care how famous the patient or how amusing these kind of crank calls have been in the past, but a nurse working in a hospital is not fair game. Nor is any patient in hospital, no matter how famous they are.

Of course, we can’t know what made the nurse feel she had no choice but to take her own life, but her family are saying that she will have “died of shame”.

The prank played on the radio must have been bad enough, but the press investigation must have made it even worse.

Less than a week later, there is very little that is not known about Jacintha Saldanha. Quotes have appeared from her husband, brother and family members in India, and posts from her children’s Facebook pages have been published in national newspapers.

As the intrusion continues, we have to wonder: Will they ever learn?



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