ISLAMABAD: The inspector general of police (IGP) has warned the capital police that any official found sharing information with media would be dismissed from service.
The order, issued by the capital police on Monday, stated that as per the directive of the PRO to the director general Islamabad Safe City, henceforth, no official shall share any information, verbal or documents, with media channels or newscasters regarding police nor will any official give an interview to a media representative.
A police official would be dismissed from service if he or she is found committing such an act, the order said, adding that the directives should be followed strictly.
On the other hand, many officers were of the view that the police chief’s move was aimed at hiding data about the rising crime rate in Islamabad.
IGP order also bars officials from giving interviews
There is no law in the country that supports the order of the police chief; it is a violation of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017, the police officials said, adding that dismissal from service was a major penalty, only given in cases of gross misconduct like financial corruption, misuse of power, criminal negligence, absence from duty for a long period and being hand in gloves with criminals.
They said as per Police Rules 11-63, a document or record could not be given to anyone for private use, however, media could get information and documents for public use.
As there is no law that prevents officials from sharing information, other than those that are secret and confidential, no one can, therefore, be dismissed from service, the officers said, adding that it would be considered misuse of power if the police chief dismisses any officer on the charge of sharing information or document, except secret or confidential, and for this the chief could himself face the same fate.
Earlier, the capital police high-ups had made several attempts to prevent information being shared with beat reporters.
A Police Pubic Relation Branch (PRB) was established in July 2022, which was aimed to favour and oblige media persons on the pretext of ‘honouring’ them in response to their contribution to entertaining news given to them by the department only, the officers said.
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2023