Media: The Department of Information and Media (DoIM) is currently conducting a survey to determine what civil servants think about the ban on social media in government agencies.

The results of the survey are likely to determine the government’s policy on social media in offices.

Access to social media was banned in government agencies by the previous government in 2011. A government circular issued then, pointed out that a large number of civil servants were misusing their office hours and equipment to access the internet, particular social media sites.

In the last GNH commission meeting, the Prime Minister directed the GNHC and DoIM to conduct the survey and find the effects of the ban, DoIM director general, Kinley T Wangchuk said.

The survey will attempt to find if there are any disadvantages to the ban in terms of constraining work, the director added.

Kinley T Wangchuk clarified that the intention of the survey is not to reinforce the ban but in the context of the social media policy, to see if it has indeed been effective.

The policy, which guides users, both civil servants and citizens, on using social media responsibly, is yet to be adopted by the government.

The director pointed out that the department is in favour of lifting the ban because there are sufficient guidelines in the proposed social media policy.

The policy encourages civil servants to participate in social media to enhance their work performance and contribute to improving their output, however, access would be granted only to manage the agency’s official accounts, and to fulfil work-related activities through their personal accounts. Civil servants will not be allowed to use social media for personal or non-work related activities during office hours else they will be held accountable.

The policy also touches on how civil servants should behave online, either when they are engaging the public on behalf of the agency on as an individual.

The DoIM expects to complete collecting and analysing information by the end of the week.

Kinley T Wangchuk said that once the survey findings are submitted to the government, it may prove to be the impetus for adopting the social media policy.

Gyalsten K Dorji