False: The Punjab government has ordered the monitoring of the social media accounts of government employees.

By: Suchita Goel
February 28 2023

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False: The Punjab government has ordered the monitoring of the social media accounts of government employees.



The Verdict False

An order issued by the Jammu & Kashmir administration was misrepresented as a Punjab government directive.

Claim ID df512af5


Context - test 2

A screengrab of a letter that claims that the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) government in the Indian state of Punjab has issued directions to monitor the social media accounts of government employees who criticize or comment on government policies is circulating on social media with many users condemning the AAP for authoritarian order. A Twitter user posted a screengrab of a letter with the caption: "So much for Freedom of Expression - AAP Punjab's Govt indirectly issues Tuglaki Farman: Unable to take criticism, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann office issues orders to Administrative Secretaries & GAD to observe its employees criticising state govt/policies on social media." Prashant Bhushan, an Indian public interest lawyer in the Supreme Court, also shared the same letter and claimed it is from the Punjab government. Additionally, media outlets like The Tribune, News18, and right-wing propaganda website Opindia also carried the same story.

Twitter image


In Fact

The Aam Admi Party rejected the reports on social media on February 21, 2023. The Punjab AAP unit shared the screengrab of the viral letter and wrote, "FAKE NEWS ALERT !! A notification of J&K Admin is FALSELY portrayed as belonging to Punjab Govt The news was circulated by these notorious accounts & media handles. Since they can't digest the loss of 2022, they must get a medical treatment for SPITTING VENOM Here's the TRUTH!." The tweet also referred to AAP winning the Punjab elections in 2022. 

In the subsequent tweet, AAP Punjab cited another document that appeared to be a part of the viral letter and wrote, "As per the full document (as highlighted). The notification is regarding JKSSRB/JKPSC vacancies."

We then found an NDTV report on Jammu and Kashmir administration issuing an order to the same effect on February 17, 2023. According to NDTV, the administration in Jammu and Kashmir has ordered all administrative secretaries to keep an eye on the social media accounts of any employees criticizing the government's policies and to send warning letters to those individuals. The report added that at a meeting on February 17, 2023, Chief Secretary AK Mehta issued the directive. Logically could not independently verify the letter's source as the original order copy is not publicly available. However, PTI and the Indian Express have both reported on the same. 

The Tribune, which had reported on the purported letter, later issued an official clarification.

The Indian Express's Assistant editor Mann Aman Singh Chhina, also posted a news clip of The Tribune clarification. On February 22, 2023, AAP Punjab also posted a screengrab of a clarification issued by The Tribune in its newspaper. It was captioned: "The power of TRUTH "Steps to rein in govt employees" published on Feb 19 claiming that Pb Govt reportedly asked all admin secretaries to monitor social media of any employee criticising the govt policies NO SUCH ORDER IS ISSUED BY PUNJAB GOVT — @thetribunechd regrets the error!"


The Verdict

A directive from the Jammu and Kashmir administration on monitoring social media accounts of government employees is being falsely claimed to be from the Punjab government. The ruling party, AAP in Punjab, has denied issuing such a directive. Therefore, we are marking this claim as false.

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