LAHORE: The Punjab government has barred college teachers from using social media platforms and speaking to the conventional media.
The Directorate of Public Instructions (DPI) Colleges, Punjab has issued directions on the use of the social media by government servants to all public sector divisional director colleges and principals.
A notification includes directions to ban the college teachers from using social and conventional media and said it was against the rules of service. It further states 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 documents with a government servant unauthorized to receive it or a private person or press.
It further states, 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, they 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 notification states, it has been observed that government servants often engage themselves with social media i.e. websites and applications that enable users to create and share contents 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 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.
It states such actions range from unauthorized relaying of the official information to disseminating the wrong or misleading information to airing of political or sectarian views etc.
It states disciplinary action under law/ rules would be initiated over any violation of the Punjab Government Servants (Conduct) Rules 1966.
Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2021