–Hospital says entry barred over ‘hooliganism’ of some journalists against its doctors
–YDA rep claims hospital staff was blackmailed with ‘fake’ news stories
–Media persons involved deny hospital’s claims, vow to continue covering issues of public importance
LAHORE: A public hospital in Gujranwala has banned the entry of all media personnel after a scuffle between doctors and journalists, Pakistan Today learnt Thursday.
According to a circular issued by Gujranwala Divisional Headquarter (DHQ) Teaching Hospital dated November 13, entry of media personnel in the hospital premises is strictly prohibited owing to the “hooliganism of media personnel against the hospital doctors and to avoid disruption of healthcare delivery to ailing patients”.
“The ban will continue until the formation of a mutually agreed code of conduct for media reporting,” it adds.
Consequently, Gujranwala DHQ medical superintendent (MS) has directed the entire security staff to make sure no media person is allowed to enter the hospital’s premises.
When approached, a representative of the Gujranwala Young Doctors Association (YDA) revealed to Pakistan Today that the hospital staff was blackmailed by some journalists who published fake news stories in various publications.
“We are not against media persons, but they must abide by the law to get information. The government hospitals have become a business for them because some journalists blackmail doctors for their personal gains,” the YDA representative complained.
It all started when a journalist came to the said hospital with a patient for a regular checkup but instead of visiting the outdoor patient department (OPD), the media person came inside the medical wards and threatened doctors and hospital staff of dire consequences if they deny quick treatment, sources said.
After a few days, clashes erupted between media persons and doctors after the former captured videos and photographs of the hospital to report its bad condition.
These stories accused the doctors and nurses of doing injustice with their duties by either sleeping during the working hours or using phones, sources said, adding that the journalists even breached the privacy of some of the female staff members by capturing their photographs and posting them online to build their case.
Videos of these clashes have been shared over social media platforms where police and Dolphin Force can be seen defusing the situation.
“Nurses perform a hectic duty and if they are on call for the entire night, they deserve brief respites,” the doctors’ association clarified.
The journalists involved, on the other hand, held a press conference at the Gujranwala Press Club and denied all allegations leveled by the medical practitioners.
They rejected the hospital’s ban on their entry and said no power can stop them from covering the issues of public importance.
They alleged that dishonest doctors were trying to evade their duties in a bid to set up private clinics and earn money, claiming that the hospital staff physically assaulted them when they tried to cover the real issues in the healthcare institute.
Meanwhile, both journalists and doctors have staged separate protests against each other and demanded justice from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. They have also called on the police to arrest those who initiated the clashes.