Order widely condemned, termed as highhandedness
SRINAGAR: Media, the fourth estate of democracy is now banned from entering hospital wards or in other words hospitals for performing its professional duties as per an order issued by Professor Samia Rashid, Principal and Dean, Government Medical College Srinagar.
In an ironical move which is widely condemned, the order issued reads: “In the interest of patient care and smooth function of institutions, it is impressed upon all Medical Superintendents of Associated Hospital that they should not allow any journalist to enter the wards or operation theatres especially at the time of ward rounds or management of mass casualties,” Professor Samia Rashid, Principal and Dean, Government Medical College Srinagar said in a written order.
The order further reads “it has come to the notice of undersigned that press reporters of various news agencies are frequently visiting hospital and unwarrantedly entering into wards/sections and other critical areas without seeking proper permission from the competent authority that too during clinical rounds and conducting of investigative procedure while performing their professional duties besides patients too feel harassed. The undue interference of media personnel is detrimental to the outcome of patient care.”
“Any press briefings that are desirable for mass awareness of the public will be conveyed by the concerned Medical Superintendents at appropriate time,” the order concludes.
Many observe that the order is politically motivated to shield the agony of victims of government atrocities undergoing treatments in different Srinagar hospitals for pellet wounds, bullet wounds and many more.
Netizens of social platforms widely condemns this order terming it a pre planned move to hide failures of health care in the government hospitals. Many call it an action to hide the cases of medical negligence reported day in and day out in the media. They said that by issuing such orders the accesses of common people and media persons is being choked which they terms is undemocratic as well.
On the other hand, journalists are criticizing the government’s decision of banning Journalists in hospitals, referring it a coward act and a plan to keep reality hidden within the hospitals premises.
They said that the media voices are being suppressed these days, adding, the reasons used to justify such a move which is ironical and unacceptable, as it clearly changes the meaning of journalism and leaves it a poppet in the hands of rich and influential.
Senior journalist Irfan Quraishi told PTK that the ban on journalists to enter hospital wards is unjustifiable and nobody is authorized to ban journalists from performing their professional duty.
“These are our hospitals, hospital of public not private properties of anyone. We will go and see who will stop us to discharge our duty. This order is ironic nowhere across the globe, journalist is restricted or asked to enter ward or talk to patients”, he adds.
He asked if such order is implemented, how come government expect the grievance in health sector and failures of health system could be put forth. “We do our work professionally in hospitals or in any other government institution. The justification given in order is illogical and biased”, he said.
Meanwhile while talking to the PTK, National Conference Additional spokesperson Sarah Hayat Shah said that it is a deliberate attempt from the ruling government to hide nexus and failures in hospitals. She said they want to hide atrocities and the plight of pellet victims as well being politically motivated.
“Such order is to stop the journalistic voice for common people. Otherwise there is no harm to go to the hospital and checking into people and hospital”, She added.
Meanwhile sources told PTK that the government has already taken serious note of the order adding that the GMC principle has been asked to restrain from issuing such orders to create problems for the government.