S&GAD prohibits government employees from using social media, interacting with press

LAHORE: The Punjab government’s Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) has banned all government employees from using social media, making press statements, sharing documents and speaking against the government.

In this regard, a confidential letter from S&GAD has been sent to Board of Revenue, Planning and Development Board, all administrative secretariats of Punjab, IG Punjab Police, all deputy and divisional commissioners, accountant general Punjab, Punjab Public Service Commission, Punjab Service Tribunal, autonomous bodies and attached departments.

The letter indicated that how the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964 prevent government employees from sharing information and making statements.

“Under the rules, no government servant can participate in any media platform except with the express permission of the government. Rule 18 of the rules bars a government servant from sharing official information or document with a government servant unauthorised to receive it, a private person and press. Rule 22 of the rules refrains a government servant from making any statement of fact or opinion, which is capable of embarrassing the government, in any document 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. Furthermore, Rules 21, 25, 25-A and 25-B of the rules bar a government servant from expressing views against ideology and integrity of Pakistan or any government policy or decision. Besides, these rules also bar a government servant 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 letter stated.

The letter further stated that despite all the laws, it is observed that many government employees are violating these rules.

“Despite the aforementioned instructions and the guiding legal framework, it has been observed that government servants often engage themselves with social media – websites and applications that enable users to create and share contents or participate in social networking or online groups. They, while using different social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram to air their views on a host of subjects, sometimes indulge in actions or behaviour that does not conform to the required standards of official conduct as envisaged in the rules ibid,” the letter revealed.

The letter directed government employees to abide by the rules.

Shahab Omer
The writer is a member of the staff and can be reached on [email protected]

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