Govt workers banned from utilizing web-based media stages


ISLAMABAD: In a clear bid to stop the leak of official information and documents, the govt has barred all government employees from using social media platforms.

A notification issued by the Establishment Division on Aug 25 says no government servant can participate in any media platform except with the permission of the govt .

The notification says that instructions aren’t intended to discourage any constructive and positive use of social media by a government organisation for engaging the people to solicit feedback on a government policy, suggestions for improvement in commission delivery and determination of their complaints.

But such an organisation shall maintain their social media platforms continuously or frequently to get rid of offensive, inappropriate and objectionable remarks.

The notification gave detailed instructions to government employees under Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964, governing participation of state servants in several media forums including social media platforms for compliance.

“Rule 18 of the principles bars a government servant from sharing official information or document with a government servant or a personal person or press,” the notification added.

Referring to Rule 22 of the Servant Rules, the Establishment Division says that it restrains a government servant from making any statement of fact or opinion which is capable of embarrassing the govt in any document published or in any communication made to the press or in any public utterance or television programme or broadcast delivered by him or her.

The notification warned all government servants that violation of 1 or more of those instructions would be tantamount to misconduct and cause disciplinary action against the delinquent government servant under Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020. Besides, it said, disciplinary proceedings would even be held against the serving government servants just in case they were administrators of a social media group where any violation had been committed.

The notification added that Rules 21, 25, 25-A and 25-B of the principles barred a government servant from expressing views against ideology and integrity of Pakistan or any government policy or decision.

The notification also bars a government servant from offering views on any media platform which can either harm the national security or friendly relations with foreign states, or offend public order, decency or morality, or amount to contempt of court or defamation or incitement to an offence or propagate sectarian creeds.

The notification highlighted that the govt servants often engaged themselves with social media like websites and applications that enabled users to make and share content or participate in social networking/virtual communities/online groups.

“They, while using different social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microblogging etc, to air their views on a number of subjects and sometimes enjoys actions or behaviour that doesn’t conform to the specified standards of official conduct, as envisaged within the Rules,” the notification added.

Such actions range from unauthorised relaying of the official information to disseminating the incorrect or misleading information to airing of political or sectarian views etc. The Establishment Division has further instructed government servants to not enjoys unauthorised disclosure of official information.

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