Did AAP Punjab issue an order to bar govt staff from criticizing policies on social media?

Rating

Claim

#AAP Govt in #Punjab issues a social media gag order for government officials for not openly criticising/commenting adversely on the government policies / achievements on the social media platforms.

“Sab Mile Hue Hain ji.” 😋

Freedom of expression until one is not in power.

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Explanation

It is widely shared on social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook that the AAP government in Punjab issues a social media gag order for government officials for not openly criticizing/commenting adversely on the government policies/achievements on the social media platforms. It also questioned about freedom of expression.

These posts also share an image of a part of the order which reads “It was observed that some government employees are openly criticizing/commenting adversely on the government policies/achievements etc. on the social media platforms. Chief Secretary directed all Administrative Secretaries to monitor the social media networks on regular basis and identify the employees criticizing/commenting adversely on the government policies/achievements etc. on social media and issue notices to these employees under intimation to the General Administration Department. GAD will issue necessary Circular Instructions in this regard.” Prashant Bhushan, IANS, Zubin Ashara, and other few verified pages are found sharing this claim on their social media pages.

Tribune News Service published that the Punjab government has asked to monitor the social media comments of its employees to check if they criticize the government policies. However, the online version of the news is found to be deleted.

The print version of Tribune News with the title “Steps to rein in govt employees” was published on February 19 and the copy of the news clip is shared by social media users.

What is the truth?

When searching with the keywords we found AAP Punjab’s tweet clarifying that the Punjab government did not issue such an order to monitor the government official’s social media handles to check if they criticize the government policies.

AAP Punjab’s tweet dated 21, February 2023 mentions that the order that is being circulated is actually a notification from Jammu and Kashmir Administration.

AAP Punjab took to Twitter on 22, February 2023 to mention that ‘The Tribune’ published a clarification on the earlier published misinformation on Punjab government’s order. This clarification was said to have been in the printed version of the news on 22, February 2023.

The Hindu article dated 20, February 2023 reports that the J&K administration issued an order barring government staff from criticizing policies.

Conclusion

It is found that the AAP government did not issue any order to monitor the comments of government employees on social media platforms about government policies.

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