The Medium and the Messenger

The Medium and the Messenger

The “ban” on the use of social media by those working for and in the Administration has evoked and elicited sharp criticism from a cross section of society. Rightly so. The gag order infringes on the freedom of expression of those denizens of Jammu and Kashmir who are employees of the administration. It may be pointed out here that as social media became more prominent and got woven into the entrails of quotidian life, across the world, it was seen as a harbinger of more liberty and hence democracy. Even though, given the multifarious uses of social media, this initial euphoria has given way to some doubt, but, regardless, the fact remains that social media is an arena or platform where people from all walks of life can and do articulate their innermost and deepest sentiment(s) and other related themes. The beauty (some might argue the converse here) of social media is that it confers anonymity to an individual or individuals. This very anonymity allows individuals to express and articulate themselves more freely. (At, times, this freedom is abused and argumentation devolves into slanging matches, or downright abusive behavior, or even trolling but this cannot be held against social media as such. It is individual personalities and idiosyncrasies that actually pan out on this medium). In the context of the employees of the administration, the freedom of though and speech that social media connotes, becomes more significant. The reasons pertain to the fact that civil servants, whatever their positions in the pecking order and hierarchy are hamstrung by a multiplicity of issues. Their speech is hedged because they cannot or are unable to articulate their ideas, feelings or even frustrations, for obvious reasons. Social media then becomes a platform that is a vent to their assorted feelings and what have you. Raising a bar or banning this medium then actually amounts to choking this section of society besides curbing their freedom of expression. What some employees of the administration say or express on social media might or might not be palatable to some, but this does not and should not mean their right be barred. As one famous philosopher has said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.” It is this dictum that powers that be must take to heart and then revoke this order that infringes upon the basic liberties of people.

One Response to "The Medium and the Messenger"

  1. SKChadha   December 30, 2017 at 11:26 am

    A public servant is already barred in service rules for using his official position to went out his political feelings. There is no bar if he went his feelings without disclosure of his official identity. Yes, if his identity comes in public domain, he has no alternative but to either publicly deny the statement if it is against the government or face the disciplinary proceedings for unbecoming conduct as a public servant. Forget about Public Servant, any person who is licking salt of his employer, can’t speak against the employer and this is fundamental rule.

    If you don’t agree, leave the job and enter into politics … 😀 😀 😀