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HomeFact CheckFact Check: Viral Circular Seeking To Monitor Govt Employees’ Social Media Accounts...

Fact Check: Viral Circular Seeking To Monitor Govt Employees’ Social Media Accounts Was Not Issued By AAP Govt In Punjab

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

An image of an order purportedly directing Administrative Secretaries to monitor the social media accounts of government employees for posting contents critical to the government has grabbed the attention online. Those who shared the viral circular claimed that it was issued by the AAP government in Punjab, who is “unable to take criticism.”

Newschecker found the claim to be untrue, and the order was not issued by the Punjab government.

The viral order reads, “It was observed that some government employees are openly criticizing/commenting adversely on the government policies/achievements etc. on the social media platforms.” 

Adding, “Directions: 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 the social media and issue notices to these employees under intimation to the General Administration Department. GAD will issue necessary Circular Instructions in this regard.”

The circular was shared on Twitter by several verified handles and they called out the Punjab government for its “Tuglaki Farman”.

Archived versions of such tweets can be seen here, here, here and here.

In an article, dated February 21, 2023, OpIndia also made the same claim citing “reports.”

Also Read: Viral Newspaper Clip of The German Times Report On Bhagwant Mann Being Deplaned Is Satire

Fact Check/Verification

On carefully analysing the signature at the bottom of the document featured in the viral image, we recognised some letters as “Far..u..k Paul.”

Not Issued By AAP Govt In Punjab
Viral image | Courtesy: Twitter@MeghUpdates

Taking a clue, we looked up “Faruk Paul,” “Faru K Paul” & “Under Secretary” on Google which led us to a LinkedIn profile of one Dr. Farukh Paul, Under Secretary at Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

Further, we found Dr. Farukh Nasir Paul enlisted as the Under Secretary to Chief Secretary on the official website of Jammu & Kashmir General Administration Department.

Following this, we looked up “Jammu & Kashmir,” “social media” “government employees” on Google and found a report published in Outlook, dated February 19, 2023.

Citing “official sources,” the report stated, “The Jammu and Kashmir administration has directed all administrative secretaries to monitor the social media networks to identify employees who are making unfavourable comments on government policies and issue notices to them…The direction was passed by Chief Secretary A K Mehta at a meeting in Jammu on Friday with instructions to the General Administrative Department (GAD) to issue a necessary circular in this regard.”

Screengrab from Outlook website

Further, an official with J&K GAD told Newschecker on condition of anonymity that the circular was actually a part of minutes of meeting undertaken by their department.

AAP Govt In Punjab Debunks The Claim

In a series of tweets, dated February 22, 2023, AAP Punjab clarified that the viral order has been falsely attributed to its government, and stated, “A notification of J&K Admin is FALSELY portrayed as belonging to Punjab Govt. The news was circulated by these notorious accounts & media handles…”

Screengrab of tweet by AAP Punjab

They shared the full page of the viral circular, and highlighted “JKSSRB/JKPSC”  in the first paragraph, thereby asserting that order was actually issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Administration. 

Screengrab of tweet by AAP Punjab

Additionally, in a tweet dated February 22, 2023, the fact checking wing of Andhra Pradesh govt shared screengrabs of posts carrying the viral image and stated, “Misleading posts on facebook and open forums, regarding a cropped Govt. order on social media posts by Govt employees, issued by the Govt of J&K. (See JKSSRB/JKPSC in full order) The posts are made with telugu language and political hashtags to mislead viewers.”

Screengrab from tweet by @FactCheckAPGov

Newschecker could not independently verify whether or not the circular was issued by the J & K administration. 

Conclusion

We could thus conclude that the viral circular directing officials to monitor the social media accounts of government employees for posts critical to the government has not been issued by the Punjab government.

Result: False

Sources

Official Website Of Jammu & Kashmir General Administration Department
Report Published In Outlook, Dated February 19, 2023
Tweet By @AAPPunjab, Dated February 21, 2023
Telephonic Conversation With An Official At J&K GAD On February 23, 2023

(With inputs from Abrar Bhat)


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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