Govt employees barred from social media

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has almost barred its employees from using social media platforms as they would no longer be expressing their views or engaging in discussion on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other similar applications.

The Establishment Division in an office memorandum titled “use of social media by government servant” has said that the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964 prohibited government servants from participating “in any media platform except with the express permission of the government.”

According to national media, the memorandum says that under Rule 22, government servants were not allowed to make “any statement of fact or opinion which is capable of embarrassing the government in any documents published or in any communication made to the press or in any public utterance or television programme or radio broadcast delivered by him or her.”

The memorandum, referring to rules 21, 25, and 25-A, claims that the rules barred government employees from “offering views on any media platform which may 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 memorandum says the same rules applied to social media use by government employees, who had been reminded time and again through specific guidelines.

However, it says, government employees continued to use social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram “to air their views on a host of subjects”. The document claimed that government employees were involved in relaying of the official information to unauthorised persons through social media.

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