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Free Malaysia Today
‘Press guilty of hype over sexual harassment claims’
By Vinodh Pillai
August 1, 2018

Psychiatrist Gayathri Kumarasuriar

Psychiatrist Gayathri Kumarasuriar

SERDANG: A psychiatrist has accused journalists of tarnishing the image of doctors, saying the media were sensationalising claims of sexual harassment involving doctors.

Dr Gayathri K Kumarasuriar of Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang said the press “had a field day” following a local English daily’s report that a department head in a hospital had sexually harassed and made a pass at trainee doctors.

“When you publish something, it should be a fair report. The media like to sensationalise stories like this. What was the headline of that report? ‘Sex predator in the house?’… Of course, people are going to believe this,” she told FMT, adding that journalists should not “spin” stories.

Her view echoed that of Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad, who today appealed to the media not to “over publicise” the claims because it could complicate efforts to protect the victims.

An independent inquiry body has been set up comprising officers from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to probe into the allegations. No details have been released.

Gayathri said the press was guilty of making generalisation.

“Now, every male doctor is going to be looked at in a different way and people are going to look at female doctors and think if she has been molested,” she said.

She said while “creative headlines” were part of a journalist’s job, “there’s a person behind that story”.

“Don’t tarnish the image of doctors in general,” she urged.

Gayathri said there should be guidelines to protect targets from being falsely accused of sexual harassment.

She said hospitals and medical institutions had so far avoided dealing with sexual harassment complaints by relocating their staff.

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Gayathri Kumarasuriar