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Pakistan govt bars its employees from using social media platforms

Pakistan govt bars its employees from using social media platforms!

The government employees can no longer express their views or engaging in discussion on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other similar applications.

As per a memorandum issued by the Establishment Division dated Aug 25, no government servant can participate in any media platform except with the permission of the government.

“Rule 18 of the Rules bars a government servant from sharing official information or document with a government servant or a private person or press,” it added.

The memorandum stated 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.”

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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 offense or propagate sectarian creeds.”

The government issued the following instructions.

  1. The same instructions as are applicable to government servants while speaking at public fora or publishing articles in print media shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the use of social media by them.
  2. As provided in Rule 18 of the [conduct ] Rules, they shall not indulge in unauthorized disclosure of the official information or sharing of the official documents they come across during the course of performing their duties, via social media.
  3. In order to maintain their impartiality and objectivity in performance, they shall not partake in any discussion on social media or exchange or forward information or messages that express their opinion on political issues.
  4. They shall not participate in furthering any information especially pertaining to government matters that, prima facie, appears to be unauthentic and misleading.
  5. They shall not make any disparaging remarks aimed at any individual or group or sect or faith and shall uphold values guiding the Civil Service at all times. They are advised to observe discretion and moderation in the use of Social Media and uphold high standards of propriety.

The memorandum, however, underscored that the use of social media for engaging with the public to solicit feedback on government policy was allowed provided the content is edited regularly.

 

Saman Siddiqui

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