Avoid posting anti-government content on social media: TIFR to employees
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), one of India's top research institutes, has instructed its employees to avoid posting "anti-government" content on social media platforms. It also asked them to avoid sharing photographs and videos of the institute's facilities online, citing security reasons. In a notification issued on Wednesday (April 13), TIFR said the same rules apply to the employees' family members as well.
- Notably, such notifications by institutes urging stakeholders to not indulge in anti-government/anti-national activities have been on the rise.
- Last month, Times Group-owned Bennett University, Noida, instructed students and parents to sign an undertaking that they won't promote/participate in anti-national and anti-social activities.
- The institute's move was reportedly in line with the Uttar Pradesh government's 2019 ordinance mandating universities to give such an undertaking.
The circular, titled "Use of Social Media Platforms," was signed by TIFR Registrar, Wing Commander (Retd.) George Antony, It stated, "Staff members of the institute are requested to refrain from uploading any photographs or videos related to the institute, its centers and field stations, residential colonies, or any government property over social media platforms, as the same could lead to serious security consequences."
The circular said, "Staff members are further informed to desist from uploading any anti-government content over social media. Family members too should be appraised about the same." It was issued as per the Department of Atomic Energy's (DAE) directives, reported The Indian Express. The notification came after photographs/videos of the DAE offices and facilities were noticed on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms.
Speaking to Hindustan Times about the circular, Antony said it was merely a reminder of existing rules and nothing new. "Photography on the TIFR institute premises has always been forbidden. Similarly, government employees making public statements against the institution or the government have always required prior permission." "The purpose....was to clarify that both the above pre-existing rules also apply to social media as well."
The 1964 Central Civil Services (Conduct) (CSS) Rules forbid scientists in government facilities from speaking against government policies. However, in 2015, the Allahabad High Court—in the Dr. Sumita Mitra v Union of India case—ruled CCS Rules aren't applicable to central university professors. It noted they are neither members of any service, nor "hold a civil post under the union," nor serve any local/other authority.