No government employees are allowed to speak before mass media, publish articles or personal opinions online, according to the Article 22 of Government Servants' (Conduct) Rules, 1979.
The Ministry of Public Administration recently issued a letter to the secretaries and senior secretaries of all the ministries as a reminder to give necessary instructions to abide by the rules in this regard.
The letter states that some public officials are expressing their personal views and statements, as well as publishing articles, on various electronic media talk-shows, print and online platforms. Their speeches include many of the government's policy-making issues, all outside of the prior approval of the head of the department and their field of interest.
As stated by the Government Servants' (Conduct) Rules, 1979, government employees are restricted from participating in radio or television broadcasts, write letters or articles on newspapers and magazines - both using their own name or anonymously – without the prior accord of the department chief or their actual field of duties.
However, it will get general approval if the broadcast or article does not - pose any harm to the integrity of the public servant or the security of the country or cordial diplomatic relations; disrupt the public order, decency and morality; and is not considered to be a contempt of court, slander or incitement to crime.
Notwithstanding, a prior approval would not be required if the broadcast, article or letter is entirely based on art, literature, science or anything related to sports. Moreover, if the divisional commissioner, deputy commissioner or upazila nirbahi officer participates in a broadcast program to inform people about the development activities of the government, permission from the divisional head will not be required.