“Public servants owe their loyalty to the public who pay the bills, not bureaucrats who spend their taxes” – PFF
Vanuatu threat :
Acting PSC Secretary Jacques
Gideon says public servants posting
comments on social media face
“disciplinary” action for airing
“dirty laundry” in public. Photo / Vanuatu Daily Post
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Warning public servants against making public statements goes against fundamentals of public service, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum.
“We call on the acting head to withdraw their media gag,” says PFF Chair Monica Miller.
“Public servants owe their loyalty to the public who pay the bills, not bureaucrats who spend their taxes,” says Miller.
Earlier this month, Jacques Gideon, the Acting Secretary of the Office of Public Service Commission, warned public servants against using social media to express concerns.
He threatened “disciplinary action” under PSC regulations against those who speak out.
Miller rejected the reported PSC statement that public servants expressing an opinion on social media was airing “dirty laundry” in public.
Laws of the land
Miller says senior officials need to reread the laws of the land.
Vanuatu constitutional provisions guarantee freedom of expression, and demand that all citizens fulfil their duty to safeguard national wealth, resources and environment in the interests of present and future generations.
“This is only possible if all citizens, including public servants, can speak their minds fairly and freely, without fear of prosecution or persecution,” says Miller.
Social networks are now an accepted part of the media and governance landscape.
Senior government officials need to embrace that, rather than fight history, says Miller.
Vanuatu recently became the second Pacific nation to adopt freedom of information laws.
Media gag on public servants by PSC
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