Kerala Health Department withdraws social media ban amid criticism

Kerala Health Department withdraws social media ban amidst backlash
Kerala Health Department withdraws social media ban amidst backlash
Kerala Health Department withdraws social media ban amidst backlash

Thiruvananthapuram | Facing criticism from the medical fraternity, the Kerala Health Department on Thursday retracted an order issued on March 13 that prohibited its officials from engaging in social media activity or creating YouTube channels.

In the latest order issued on Thursday, the director of Health Services stated that the circular issued on March 13 was being withdrawn retrospectively due to administrative reasons.

The decision to rescind the controversial circular followed intense backlash from various medical professional bodies, notably the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA).

The March 13 order issued by the Health Services director had emphasised the potential risk of violations associated with government officials' social media usage and expressed concern regarding the possibility of financial gain through platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, which contradicted existing regulations.

Earlier, the KGMOA had condemned the circular, characterising the Health Department's restrictions on social media activity as an infringement upon the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined in Article 19(1)(A) of the Constitution.

"It is highly objectionable that such an extremely reactionary order has been issued at a time when many health workers, including government employees, are making tireless efforts through social media to educate the public against false and unscientific propaganda in the field of health, to impart science-based knowledge and above all to protect public health," the KGMOA had said.

The KGMOA had criticised the Health Department's approach, likening it to "killing a rat by burning a house," and urged authorities to promptly retract the "black law" and adopt measures that align with the principles of the modern era while upholding dignity.

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