Thursday, June 20, 2024
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State visits must not become a Social Media Playground 

The Presidential Secretariat according to a leading newspaper the Sunday Times has issued instructions to its entire staff telling them not to solicit or take personal photographs or selfies with any visiting head of state, VIPs or dignitaries in the future.

The staff have further been instructed that any information on such visits should be confined to the respective official media statements.

The instructions came after attention was drawn to Presidential Secretariat staff having taken selfies with French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Sri Lanka on July 28. This had irked several VIPs. Even the Prime Minister ( No 2 ) nor the Speaker (No 3) in the country were not present. But Presidential Secretariat staff were seen stalking the French President for pictures on video . A retired Secretary told LNW that he was surprised because the President was from the old school . How is personal staff got access to the French President was not diplomatic at all. Further he said his personnel staff are not official positions in the hierarchy in the state to attend high level Head of State visits. His official secretary must take the lead. He praised the First Lady Wickramasinghe for her dignified conduct. But unfortunately for some it is like the old saying “monkey getting a razor knife “ it has become the norm and they are following the Mahinda Rajapakse era. People wanted a break from the past,  he noted. 

The Sunday Times went on to say posting of these selfies drew adverse comments on social media with few calling the President’s office to ask if this was protocol observed in the breach. Protocol among public servants is a matter that requires classes to be given by, maybe the Foreign Ministry the paper noted.

Adolf .

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