GUWAHATI, Aug 25 - The State government has prepared a draft social media policy for effective use by its employees as a dynamic medium of interaction and as a means to reach out to the citizens and assist in governance.
The policy comes with a number of guidelines that are aimed at preventing its misuse in view of the sensitive nature of social media.
�The underlying idea behind the policy is to put this most convenient mode of sharing information to effective use. It is different from traditional media tools like newspaper, magazine, radio and television, and comes with more vibrancy and immediate effect. With social media, common citizens are not only a consumer of information, but also the generator of content,� official sources told The Assam Tribune.
The draft policy which is based on the Framework and Guidelines for use of Social Media for Government Organisations formulated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology under the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India, has effected minor modifications.
The draft policy has now been put in public domain for a check by people before it goes for the final print.
The draft policy says that the user must always identify clearly who he or she is, and his or her role in the department. The user is advised against making any unauthorised comment and not to initiate a conversation, comment or respond to a reaction unless authorised.
�This must be firmly adhered to, especially in matters that are sub-judice, draft legislation or relating to other individuals,� it adds.
Maintaining relevance and commenting only on issues relevant to one�s area and making pertinent comments, maintaining a professional approach, maintaining politeness and a respectful attitude during all discussions, and never making personal comments for or against any individuals or agencies are some other guidelines.
Political discussions are a strict �no� while using social media.
The draft also asks the user to be open to criticism and to always react to comments (positive or negative) with grace. It is not necessary to respond to each and every comment, it says.
Some other norms include keeping relevant rules and regulations first and never to infringe upon intellectual property rights or copyright of others, and to respect privacy and never to reveal personal information about other individuals or one�s own private and personal details.
In addition, the use of social media will be governed by the law of the land, i.e., Information Technology Act, 2000 and its amendments thereafter and all other applicable laws governing the territory of India.
The draft says social media is a necessity as it gives voice to the unheard, with immediate and non-stop reach.
�It offers the government and its initiatives a platform to engage with their stakeholders - especially citizens in real time and get a pulse of the mood among the public without any bureaucratic or political filter, which later can be used to make policies citizen-oriented. Many government agencies across India use various social media platforms to reach out to citizens, businesses and experts to seek inputs into policy making, get feedback on service delivery, create community-based programmes, etc.,� sources said.
The government claims the policy to be a comprehensive document taking care of the sensitive nature of the presence and interaction of government agencies in social media.