In an effort to avoid the leak of government data and documentation, the government prohibited all personnel from accessing social media sites, Dawn reports.
According to its report, the Establishment Division has notified the public that without the government’s authorization, no government official may engage in any media platform.
The Notification reads: “They shall also be excluded from offering views on any media platform that may harm national security or ‘friendly relations with foreign states, or offend public order, decency, or morality, or imply disrespect for a court, defamation, incitement or propagation of sectarian beliefs.’
“While using different Social Media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microblogging and so on, it says, they (government officials) have a variety of opinions on a number of issues and sometimes take action or behavior that does not meet official standards as set out in the rules.”
The Establishment Division stated that government officials’ acts vary from unlawful transmission of official information to the dissemination of incorrect or misleading information to political or religious opinions etc.
In accordance with the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964, the Notice provided government staff with specific guidelines on the involvement of government officials in various media forums including compliance platforms in social media.
“Rule 18 of the Rules prohibits the sharing of official data and documents with a government officer, a private individual or the press, by a government official,” the notification stated.
In reference to Rule 22 of the Servant Rules, the update stated that government workers are prevented from making declarations of fact or “any opinion which might offend the government on any publicly-published or communicated paper or in any public or television program or radio broadcasting by them.”
Any breach of the instructions will be deemed misconduct and will result in disciplinary action against the delinquent government official under the Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020. Furthermore, the notices said that disciplinary procedures would be initiated against serving government employees if they were administrators of a social media group if any infraction had occurred.
The notification further said that Rules 21, 25, 25-A, and 25-B of the Rules prohibited government employees from expressing ideas contrary to Pakistan’s ideology and integrity, as well as any government policy or decision.
The Establishment Division has also ordered government employees not to disclose official material in an illegal manner.