Government Social Media Gag on Employees Draws Flak

News Kashmir Desk

In a move that is drawing widespread condemnation and outrage, The JK government recently has added a sub-rule in the Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees Conduct rules which states that no government employee shall engage in any criminal, dishonest, immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct on social media which may be prejudicial to the government.

 

“They shall also not use their personal social media accounts for any political activity or endorse the posts or tweets or blogs of any political figure,” the rule states. The employees shall also not use their accounts in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the government endorses or sanctions their personal activities in any manner whatsoever, it said. The order said that the employees shall also not post inflammatory, extraneous messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response.

Kashmir and restrictions on social media are nothing new as internet services being snapped on several occasions to curb unrest has been a common feature . During the month of May the state government directed internet service providers to block 22 social networking platforms to clamp down on tensions spurring clashes between security forces and civilians.

Both on online and real world outrage against the order was witnessed. Shafat Farooq, a journalist wrote ”

Dear Netizens, in view of this recent government gag order for its employees, please brace up for more Angel Priya, Charming princess accounts. Remember: any Dady’s princess account could be Gafoor Bhai in real. Thanks”

Shah Faesal , the famed IAS officer in a comic tone criticized the order in comic tone on facebook articulating his feelings in critical  language  -”

“Heard that government employees will be subjected to foot whipping for operating Facebook (account). From now on I will use coded language to update,” Faesal, the first Kashmiri to top the civil services examination in 2009, wrote on his Facebook page, hours after the government issued the gag order

An employee pleading anonymity stated – ”The order of the government curbing our freedom of speech is an onslaught on democracy. It is  a bizarre 16-page order titled “Social Media Usage Policy for Government Employees” issued by the state’s general administration department on Tuesday, which invokes new ‘guidelines’ having been made into law by Governor NN Vohra, specifying how over we the more than 4.8 lakh government employees in the state must behave on social media. This is clear violation of democracy and killing freedom of speech.”

The  move to regulate Social Media activity of the government employees is drawing flak from every quarter.

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