ISLAMABAD: The federal government has almost barred its employees from using social media platforms for what it said preventing leak of official information and documents.

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

The Establishment Division in a notification has said that the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964 prohibit government servants from participating in any media platform except with the express permission of the government.

The notification 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.

Referring to rules 21, 25, and 25-A, the notification claims that the rules bar 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.”

It says the same rules apply 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 to air their views on a host of subjects.

“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,” says the notification issued by the Establishment Division on August 25.

“They (government employees) shall not participate in furthering of any information especially pertaining to government matters that, prima facie, appears to be unauthentic and misleading,” the notification added.

The notification 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. It warned that employees failing to follow the instructions would face disciplinary action.

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