Amid huge criticism, the government yesterday withdrew the circular banning publication of any public hospital’s information without the consent from the authorities concerned.
In a new circular, issued to replace the previous one with the same reference number and date, the authorities have excluded the clause no.6, which said taking pictures and videos of patients and health services inside hospitals without permission was not allowed.
The move by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare sparked criticisms with media professionals and experts considering it as a blow to press freedom.
In the new circular, the ministry also directed the officials concerned to implement an eight-point directive, as mentioned in the previous circular and replaced the clause no.6 with a new one, which said any person could enter the hospitals upon permission from the authority.
Other clauses, such as introducing entry passes for visitors in every public hospital and maintaining register books for visitors, allowing a maximum of two attendants for each patient and making sure all staffers carry ID cards visibly, have been kept the same.
The Daily Star contacted the health minister and the secretary of the health services division over phone. None of them received the calls.
Earlier, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) also issued a press release criticising the government’s move.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, termed the move to be against the government’s zero tolerance policy for corruption.
The organisation also demanded withdrawal of the circular.