wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Babus may not be allowed to criticize the government on social media


Civil servants and officers may be allowed to participate on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, but criticism of the government will strictly not be allowed, according to a proposal by the department of personnel and training.

“Previous sanction of the Government shall not be required when member of the service, in bonafide, discharge of their duties or otherwise publishes a book or article or contributes to or participates in an public media including social media websites,” the proposal said.

However, they will not be allowed to criticize the government in any document over any public media published anonymously or pseudo-anonymously, it added. The member of service will not make a statements critical of the government or its policies on television, social media or any other communication application. Interestingly, caricatures are included as documents which may be considered as criticizing the government.

Criticism of any policy or action by the central or state government will not be allowed. Any statements capable of embarrassing relations between the central and state governments are prohibited under the guidelines. Similarly, criticism which could affect relationships between the government and foreign state are not allowed.

MediaNama’s take

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The government has the right to form or establish a policy to manage its social presence better. However, there are a number of points which point to gray areas and may impede on freedom of expression. What would constitute as “embarrassing” and amount to criticism? The point of caricatures being included as documents critical of the government is absurd (although it seems in line with the fact that India can’t take a joke). What if there is a cartoon which pokes fun at government policies, and an officer “Likes” it on Facebook, would that amount to criticism and result in action taken against him/her? Would forwarding a WhatsApp joke and not necessarily publishing the joke be considered as criticism?

SBI’s social media policy

In December 2014, State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest bank, issued a code of conduct for social media which said that employees are not allowed to create or join any groups on social networks which had SBI’s name or logo. It also said that employees will not be allowed to create anonymous profiles and have to use their real names.

Other bizarre social media codes of conduct

The Times Group has a social media policy where journalists and employees were asked to hand over their social media credentials to BCCL where both the company and employees could post content. Following outrage from journalists, the contracts were modified and there were multiple versions of the same. Last year, Times of India created a new policy where its journalists’ paychecks will be dependent on whether or not they join specialised WhatsApp groups to share breaking news updates. The emails, of which MediaNama has copies, detail that all journalists must file, every week, at least three WhatsApp alerts. More on that here.

The Hindu had a social media policy where employees were told to refrain from sharing stories of other publications.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Image Credit: Flickr user Carolyn Tiry under CC BY-SA 2.0


Written By

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.


The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.


In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...


By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...


By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...

You May Also Like


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ