Srinagar, Sep 26: The Directorate of Family Welfare, Maternal and Child Healthcare (MCH) and Immunisation, Jammu and Kashmir, has issued new social media guidelines for its employees, prohibiting them from criticising government policies or actions on social media, posting content that is political, anti-secular, or communal.
As per the official order, no government employee should, by any utterance, write or otherwise discuss or criticise in public or any meeting of any association or body any policy pursued or action taken by the government nor should he or she in any manner participate in any such discussion or criticism.
“No government employee should, in any radio broadcast or any document published in his name or anonymously, pseudonymously, or in the name of any other person or any communication to the press or in any public utterance make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the Government of India, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, or any other state government,” reads an official order issued by Director, Family Welfare, MCH and Immunisation, J&K, Dr Tabassum Jabeen.
According to the order, the employees, directly or indirectly, should not publish, post, or release any information on social media that is considered confidential or that is not meant for public dissemination nor should they pass any official documents or any part thereof to any government employee or any such person to whom he is not authorised to communicate such document or information.
“No government employees should, through any post, Tweet (X) or otherwise discuss or criticise on social media any policy pursued or action taken by the government, nor should he or she, in any manner, participate in any such discussion or criticism on social media pages, communities, and microblogs,” reads an order.
The employees have been asked not to post tweets or share content that is political or anti-secular and communal or subscribe to pages, communities, Twitter (X) handles, and blogs of such a nature.
“The government employees should not post on social media any such contents or comments about co-workers or individuals, that are vulgar, obscene, threatening, intimidating or that violate the conduct rules or employees, neither should they post grievances about their workplace on social media in the form of videos, posts, tweets, or blogs or in any other form, but will follow the already established channels of complaint redressal existing in the departments,” reads an order.
Furthermore, government employees have been asked not to indulge in sharing, or partaking in the so-called giveaways and contests on social media platforms, which are scams in disguise, as they could unknowingly spread malware or trick people into giving away sensitive data by sharing it on their profiles.
As per the order, it has been observed that government employees often engage themselves with social media in a manner that is in contravention of these rules.
“While using different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter (X), Instagram, or instant messaging applications like WhatsApp or Telegram, employees have been seen to air disparaging views on subjects that they are expressly barred under rules to comment upon. The employees have been seen to comment or act or behave in a manner that does not conform to the acceptable standards of official conduct as envisaged in the aforementioned guidelines and rules,” the order reads.
As per the order, it has been observed that in the Department of Family Welfare, MCH, and Immunisation, J&K, some employees are misusing social media platforms by posting vulgar, obscene, and unnecessary Tweets (X posts), contents, and comments against the department which defames the working and reputation of the department.
According to the order, the “administrators” of these social media platforms as well as concerned employees if they are serving in the department are liable for disciplinary action under the relevant rules.
“All employees working in the Department of Family MCH and Immunisation, J&K, have been enjoined to strictly adhere to the guidelines and legal principles reproduced in the order and issued vide government order and refrain from indulging in unwarranted debates, discussions, sharing, and commenting and posting inappropriate posts and content on social media platforms. Violation of these guidelines and rules should be tantamount to misconduct and invite disciplinary action against the delinquent official under the relevant rules,” the order states.
The penalties for non-compliance outlined in the guidelines include censure, fines, withholding of increments and promotions, reduction to lower positions, and recovery of pecuniary losses incurred by the government due to negligence or breach of orders.
In severe cases, employees could face premature retirement or even dismissal from government service, which may disqualify them from future employment.