Hospitals ban snapping photos

Hospitals ban snapping photos
Updated 10 May 2016

Hospitals ban snapping photos

Hospitals ban snapping photos

RIYADH: Some government hospitals have issued regulations under which those caught taking photos on the premises will be prosecuted.
These orders coincide with the increased phenomenon of taking photos inside health facilities with the purpose of publishing them on social media, either to defame the facility or point out faults in their working.
Signs have been put up in some private hospitals, including King Khalid Eye Specialty Hospital in Riyadh, saying anyone caught taking photographs will be penalized with the confiscation of their devices. Hospital sources said that anyone who refuses to hand in their devices will face police action.
Some government bodies, including the Ministry of Education, have announced similar decisions that prevent photography inside facilities unless they have an official permit.
The Anti-Information Technology Crime Law has 16 articles and defines a punishment for each crime, starting with imprisonment for one year and a maximum fine of SR500,000 for minor offenses, or a minimum of 10 years in jail and SR5 million for more serious offenses. However, the law does not provide for the official confiscation of devices, leading to criticism from some citizens, reported Al-Watan newspaper.
The Makkah Health Department, meanwhile, is conducting an investigation into the case of a female official at a hospital in the region who violated the regulations by taking a selfie inside an operating theater while a team doctors was involved in surgery. Director-General of Makkah Health Affairs Dr. Mustafa Baljon told a local publication that the actions of the public relations official at the hospital constitute a stark violation of the law and necessary punitive measures would be taken against her.
An official source at the Makkah Health Department said that the Ministry of Health issued a circular to hospitals to ban the entry of mobile phones with cameras into key medical rooms including operation theaters and delivery rooms .
The source described the action of the official as irresponsible and one that showed disrespect for the rights of patients and their privacy, as well as constituting a distraction for the medical staff.
The source said the the only way for someone to take pictures inside hospitals is to acquire prior permission from hospital authorities after filling in a form and submitting it to the authorities with the consent of the patient in writing.
Additionally, photos must only be used for medical, research or educational purposes while maintaining at the same time the privacy and secrecy of the patient.
The source also stressed that the process should not involve filming the body of the patient while undergoing a medical procedure.