GUWAHATI, Sept 1: The Assam Government has brought out a draft social media policy for its employees. Basically, the government has asked its employees to stay away from all forms of political discussions. The government has sought comments from the public on the guidelines before September 15.
The policy has assumed significance against the wide reach of the social media. Stating that the speed of communication did not offer the luxury of differentiating between official and personal content, the draft policy asked the government employees to use the social media for official purposes. They should follow some “guiding principles” to keep conversation and interaction smooth, it added.
The draft policy has also stated: “Do not initiate a conversation, comment or respond to a reaction unless authorised. This must be firmly adhered to especially in the matters that are sub judice, draft legislations or relating to other individuals.”
Stating that “specific policies may be drafted related to information security and archiving”, the draft policy pointed out: “Government agencies might need to engage with social media service providers to work out service-level agreements for complaint and response mechanism since most of them are based outside India and are not governed by Indian laws, or managed and controlled by its regulations.”
The government further asked the departments to use the same name for different social accounts for ease of search on the Internet. “While employees are free to post response in their personal capacity, it is mandatory that while they are doing so, they must clearly identify themselves, confidential information must not be divulged and should not be seen to represent official view unless authorised to do so,” the draft mentioned.
The social media was not just to disseminate information but to engage the public in a meaningful participation for formulation of public policy, the draft policy stated, adding: “Government organisations are exploring the use of social media for disseminating information, policy making, recruitment, generating awareness, education and about public services. Therefore, social media may be used for seeking feedback from citizens, re-pronouncement of public policy, issue based as well as generic interaction, brand building or public relations, generating awareness and education on National Action Plans and implementation strategies.”
* Comments sought from public before September 15