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Anti-social media?

The poll day of the general round of election is just five days away. What this means is that the political parties and supporters will go all out to make the most out of the few days before the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) calls 48-hour no-campaign period into effect. It is at such desperate times for the political parties to woo the electorate that they tend to breach the electoral and other related laws of the land. Some do it in full knowledge of the consequences that their actions could suffer. Others walk into trouble unawares.

In the many days leading up to the present state of national affairs, there have been several reports about party supporters and individuals who by virtue of their office should remain apolitical wheeling and dealing, stoking up on distrust and divisions the long election processes have left in their wake.

Allowing individuals or groups to intercede where their interference is uncalled-for and is best left at arm’s length is leading to social media tools being widely misused today, adding to the complexity of the issues facing the people at the grassroots. It is factors like these that are throwing a spanner on the people’s effort to bridge the differences in the society that the past elections have apparently helped to create.

While the ECB has dealt with many of the cases and is in the process of dealing with others that are coming to the office on a daily basis, social media forums like facebook and WeChat in particular have been the principal sources of news. These modern tools are changing the way information is created and shared in the society. It is through these outlets that we know how divisive our society is becoming by the day.

Besides lending themselves to efficient and convenient dissemination of information, social media have their downsides too. And that is where we need to be a little more careful. Left unregulated, posts and contents by reckless users could damage the very fabric of the society that has kept us one and united.

The greater danger we face today is the deepening and widening of the fault lines along which some people seem to be dividing the society by insinuating fear. When the whole national purpose should be focused on healing the old wounds, creating new ones is what we can ill afford.

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