LAHORE Though they do everything blatantly contrary to each other, this time around the PPPs government has religiously followed their political adversary PML-N by issuing an advisory on Saturday to federal government employees restricting them from interacting with the media. The government has to face embarrassment due to the government servants interaction with the media, reads a 'brainy-cum-brawny notification, warning that any violation could lead to punitive action. In case any official fails to comply with the instructions, disciplinary proceedings under Conduct and Efficiency and Discipline Rules 1973 may be initiated, it says. The N-led Punjab government has already banned all government officials from interacting with the media under the Protection and Communication of Official Information Rule (46) of the Rules of Business. Ordinarily, all 'official news and information has to be conveyed to the media through the Information, Culture and Youth Affairs Department, 'in the manner, generally or specially, prescribed by the department. It hands down a handy pretext to officials to decline giving of any information. This is being deemed as blocking of information to the masses, and a serious threat to the media. The officials were reminded that they were not allowed to communicate any information, acquired directly or indirectly, from any official document or otherwise to the media, to non-officials, or to officials belonging to other government offices, unless he/she has been, generally or specially, empowered to do so. It was mentioned that the chief secretary will issue detailed instructions about treatment and custody of official documents and information of a confidential character. However, the ministers, secretaries and other authorised officers will only act as official spokesmen of the government. All departmental heads and secretaries were directed to ensure that their employees avoid talking to media persons unless asked by the highest authority. Breach of discipline will be dealt with strictly in accordance with the rules, read the circular. Constitutional experts assert that Rule 46 is ultra vires, arbitrary and against the spirit of the constitution since no rule can supersede rights guaranteed under the constitution. The rule primarily bars freedom of inquiry. Under Article 19 of the 1973 Constitution it has been outlined, Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable retractions imposed by law in the interest of glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, a decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission or incitement to an offence. After the 18th Amendment, article 19-A had been inserted, which says, Every citizen shall have the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law. According to federal governments notification issued Saturday, the government also slapped a restriction on its employees to participate in TV and radio programmes and writing for in newspapers. In case of failure to obey the orders, action will be taken against such an employee under Government Servant Conduct Rules 1964, warns the PPP-led government. Last year, the incumbents, through the Cabinet Division, had instructed all ministries, divisions and chief secretaries to issue necessary instructions to all concerned to avoid holding press conferences and maintaining contacts with the media. Media experts believe that such measures seriously impede free flow of information and promote culture of secrecy in bureaucracy. It also means that the governments are more interested in controlling the flow of information since these instruction are said to be specifically designed to make sure that minimum information is available in the public domain about functioning of the government and the way nations resources are being put to use.