Government departments in Namibia have to set up social networking accounts by the end of June, if the Social Media Use Policy before parliament is adopted.
The Social Media Use Policy sets down rules and guidelines on how government departments will use Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp to disseminate official information and serve as a platform for engagement.
According to the policy, the social media accounts will carry policy statements from ministers, governors and other policy makers.
The policy is in line with President Hage Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan that seeks to engender transparency and accountability.
Although the policy document does not spell out any form of possible punishment, it says that government workers “must be taken into consideration when participating in these services at any time, but particularly when identifying themselves as public servants or when the context might lead to that conclusion.”
Civil servants, the policy also says, do not have to seek permission to engage on the social media in their capacity as long as they do not create the impression that whatever they are saying represents the government.
The accounts, the policy says, will serve as the primary source of effective management of information and interaction with the public.
Furthermore, the policy requires each department to respond to questions and complaints raised on the sites within 24 hours.
While the accounts will be interactive, the policy says the government reserves the right to remove comments that inspire hate, racism, tribalism and are sexist.
The policy also warns civil servants to be careful when they post on social media so that the public will not mistake personal opinion for an official position. Enditem