Some of the province’s major media organizations are calling on the Quebec government to grant journalists greater access to facilities within the health network, as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues.
In an open letter published Tuesday and signed by Global News, media representatives argue that showing the reality of what is going on in Quebec hospitals and long-term care facilities is paramount.
“It is of utmost of importance for Quebecers to hear directly from embattled doctors, nurses and orderlies, as well as the patients they are treating, in order to accurately report the harsh realities being experienced behind those closed doors,” the letter reads.
“Health-care workers, after all, are the primary witnesses to what goes on inside our health institutions. They must be allowed to speak freely about what they are observing during this crisis.”
The group credits images out of Italy in March 2020, showing overcrowded hospital rooms and overwhelmed staff, for helping to bring the full impact of the health crisis to the public’s attention.
“It was this imagery, more than any World Health Organization announcement or press release, that made people the world over aware of the gravity of the pandemic. It also helped many of them more readily accept government confinement measures.”
According to media representatives, more often than not, journalists’ requests to document the pandemic from inside long-term care facilities or within hospitals, have been denied by government and public health authorities alike.
Global News, as well as its fellow signatories, cited freedom of information for the request.
A full copy of the open letter can be found below.
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