In new social media guidelines, CRPF asks personnel to not comment on controversial, political matters

The country’s largest paramilitary force CRPF has issued a fresh set of social media guidelines for its personnel, asking them not to comment on controversial or political matters that may come back to “haunt” them later.

The two-page instructions were issued last week by the headquarters of the force in Delhi after it was noticed that the “force personnel were taking recourse to social media platforms to vent their personal grievances which is in violation of CCS conduct Rules 1964 and may attract disciplinary action”.

A circular issued in this context has been accessed by PTI and it states that the new guidelines are being issued to make aware the personnel against “cyber bullying and harassment” and also to sensitise them.

The guidelines suggested some “don’ts” including not revealing the exact posting and nature of work if working in a sensitive ministry or organisation.

“Do nothing which on your Internet social networking may harm the reputation of the government or that of your own; do not make adverse comment on government policies or make political/religious statements in any public forum and do not comment on controversial, sensitive or political matters that may come back to haunt you,” it said.

The guidelines state that personnel should not write or post anything out of anger, spite or under the influence of alcohol and they should also not be a bully or discriminate against anyone online.

“Do not share anything through a non-authorised platform even if it is unclassified or innocuous like manpower issues, promotions, local orders etc. which may give an opportunity to the adversaries in gathering intelligence,” it said.

The guidelines also have some “do’s” for the CRPF personnel like being “sure to know the difference between fact and opinion.” “Make sure to clarify (over social media platforms) that you are not representing the position of the government; always remember that you are personally responsible for the content you publish on blogs, wikis, or any other platform or in any form of user-generated content,” it said.

The personnel have been asked to “protect the privacy” of their family and friends, as carefully as their own, and they should use “utmost discretion while commenting on sensitive issues, gender issues and controversial issues online”.

“Carefully consider the implications of making friends, linking, following or accepting requests from unknown persons,” it said.

“…social networking sites are not an appropriate platform to discuss official matters/grievances. If required, the force personnel can put forth their grievances on the institutional platforms,” the circular issued to all formations of the force said.

A similar set of guidelines were issued by the force a few years ago.

The about 3.25-lakh-personnel strong Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is primarily deployed in three combat theatres of the country — Left Wing Extremism (LWE), counterterrorism operations and law and order duties in Jammu and Kashmir and counter-insurgency tasks in the northeastern states.