The government is seeking a permanent order to stop Moses Uludong and Tia Belau Newspaper from publishing patient information relating to the pending Civil Action No. 23-102, a case where a former doctor(plaintiff) is suing the Ministry of Health and Human Services for breach of contract.
The government argues that disclosing confidential patient information is an unwarranted invasion of privacy and violates the ROP law. The government also asserts that the Constitution’s Article IV, Section 2, does not grant the press the right to publish confidential patient information obtained in violation of ROP law.
In the motion for Permanent Injunction, the government said Uludong was already enjoined by the Temporary Restraining Order not to disclose patients’ confidential information, but on September 8, 2023, Udesual Talk Show, he disclosed patients’ information in violation of the court’s orders.
In the September 8 Udesuall Show, Uludong spoke about the case and did not mention patients’ names, but he described a couple of the medical incidents mentioned in the civil case.
“By disclosing confidential patient information on the radio, Mr. Uludong made that confidential information public without authorization from the patient or from the Ministry, the owner of the medical records,” stated the complaint.
Furthermore, the motion claimed that preventing the media from disclosing or reporting on specific cases does not violate the Constitution’s Article IV, Section 2, which states, “the government shall take no action to deny or impair freedom of expression or press.”
“This Constitutional guarantee does not grant the press the right to publish confidential patient information obtained in violation of ROP law,” asserts the petition.
Uludong argues that there are ways the news could have been released while protecting patients’ information and that the government chose to prevent the entire incident from being reported in the news by taking out a Temporary Restraining Order on him and Tia Belau Newspaper.