Media and Doctors are considered two important technical pillars of the society and their profession demands utmost professionalism and realism of ethics in performance of their duties. Whereby doctors community is the messiah of the society, giving their services to the ailing humanity, the media is also a responsible segment of the society, highlighting the issues of the public, shaping public policies within a domain of code of conduct.
However, in societies which are decaying and the rot extends to the roots of the society, some professions lose their sanctity and become a bone of contention for those who care for the general interest of the public.
Such a matter was witnessed, in Peshawar on Friday the 5th of July 2013, when some of the media men showed another dark aspect of the profession, and resorted to something, which is not seen in the civilized society. On that unfortunate day, some of the media men belonging to Dunya news exhibited a rare form of vandalism, and that also, in one of the most sensitive parts of the society, with the cream of the society.
On that day, a camera man of Dunya News named nasir Dawar brought a relative of him to the Casualty Department of Khyber teaching Hospital, Peshawar who had suffered trauma to his limbs. He was referred to the Orthopaedics Unit of the same hospital in the wee hours of Friday, where Dr Samiullah, a Post Graduate Trainee Doctor was on duty. The doctor gave him emergency treatment and stabilized the patient, and then asked the camera man who was accompanying the injured man to bring some medicines from market because the hospital pharmacy was short of those medicines, and the patient needed them. However, the Dunya News Cameraman Mr Nasir Dawar started arguing with the doctor alleging that the doctors write medicines from outside markets and they are involved in partnerships with the pharma industry. Dr Samiullah explained the nature of treatment and also said that well, the treatment is this one. If you want your patient to get properly treated, kindly bring the medicines as he is in dire need of these. After saying this, the concerned doctors started attending other patients, while in this time, Mr Nasir Dawar, asked his fellows to bring camera and started live coverage of the ward patients, to which the concerned doctor objected and said that filming of the patients is a breach of patient confedintiality and hence his staff should immediately stop filming and leave the area, to which the cameraman said that no power on earth can stop him from filming the patients. This resulted in a hot words exchange between the doctor and Dunya News cameraman, and he was shown the door with help of ward security staff.
The same cameraman, immediately called his fellow reporters who came in Dunya News Van and were armed with wooden sticks. Some of them started chanting slogans against doctors outside the Casualty Department of KTH, while some of them went inside the Casualty Department and once again started live coverage blaming the doctors for poor treatment and care of the patients. They were once again told to leave as this was breaching the patients confidentiality, but this time this resulted a scuffle between Dunya News reporters and Casualty Staff, to which the rest of mediamen armed with wooden sticks attacked and broke the windows panes of the causalty Department. As a reaction, the doctors of the hospital also gathered on the occasion and then, a scuffle broke out between doctors and mediamen, resulting in injuries to people on both side. One doctor named Dr Saqib was severely injured in the scuffle and was immediately shifted to Operation Theatre. He had suffered grevious injuries in his lower limbs.
In the meanwhile, the rest of Dunya news Reporters blocked the main Jamrud Road and chanted slogans against the Government, Doctors and Hospital Administration. There were long queues of vehicles on both sides of the road for almost 2 hours. The mediamen dispersed after the police intervened.
A high membered inquiry committee has been constituted by the Provincial Health Minister Mr Shaukat Yousafzai to inquire about the incident, but the media people having their monopoly on the print and electronic media have declared a unilateral activities coverage ban on doctors and provincial Health Department. The doctors have termed this as violation of article 25 of the Constitution of the country, which declares that the right to information is the basic fundamental right of every Pakistani citizen.
Civil Society members have started a rapproachment process between media and doctors community but the media people are adamant. Meanwhile Provincial Doctors Association, the only elected body of the doctors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has expressed serious reservations about the high handedness of media in hospitals and said that some elements within the media are hell bent to bring a bade name to the profession by involving themselves in vandalism. The doctors body has expressed that if the unilateral ban on the doctors activites and the Health Department is not lifted they will approach the judiciary regarding the violation of their fundamental right to information.
By Dr Nayyar Raza, Peshawar