The acting director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Dr TD Dogra on Friday issued a gag order on all faculty, staff members, officers and resident doctors, banning them from speaking to the media. All hospital personnel have also been banned from holding press conferences without authorisation.
AIIMS doctors had received similar gag orders before with immediate past director Dr P Venugopal issuing a similar ban on July 28, 2003, 25 days after his appointment. “Such bans have not worked in the past as it leads to doctors speaking off the record. The right of speech is every citizen's fundamental right,” said Dr Kumar Harsh, president Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA).
The doctors hold the Health Ministry equally responsible for the act, claiming that the gag order reflects Health Minister’s insecurity. “These undemocratic means are being used to curb criticism against the ministry,” added Dr Harsh.
“There is a clause in the rule book that allows associations to voice their views,” said Dr Binod Khaitan, Faculty Association of AIIMS.