The interim govt. will decide soon on how to pursue DPT’s complaint on the banned website
The interim government will make a decision regarding Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) complaint against the government-banned website, Bhutanomics, some time next week.
The website is a platform for anonymous contributors, who write and post images on political and social issues.
On whether the interim government will launch an investigation or pursue other measures against the person or persons behind the website, the chief advisor, Sonam Tobgye, said he could not comment on the issue currently, however, he added that he would do so next week.
In the letter addressed to the chief advisor, DPT president Jigmi Y Thinley urged the government to intervene in the issue, as the website goes “beyond the bounds of party politics or personal vendetta”, and threatens the “harmony, peace and stability” of the country. He was referring to a June 10 post on the website that contains a number of allegations against the party.
The DPT president also points out that it is possible for the government to trace the source of the content, and calls for immediate and strong action.
If the interim government agrees with DPT and attempts to trace the content creators of the website, the responsibility is most likely fall on the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA).
The authority’s media officer, Lakshuman Chettri, said that the authority received the June 11 dated DPT letter on June 12. “Since this is only a copy endorsed to the authority, assessment is being made on what follow up action needs to be taken,” he wrote in an email on Thursday. “The authority will decide, after the assessment is made.”
On whether the authority had completed the assessment, as of yesterday, and had decided on any measures, Lakshuman Chettri wrote that “Since the letter is addressed to the Honourable Chief Advisor of the interim government, the authority will not be in a position to comment on this issue at this point of time.”
BICMA had directed all the country’s internet service providers to block the website in March, following a Phuentsholing court order. The block was ordered on grounds of defamation.
However, internet users continued to access the website via proxy servers. The website also moved its content onto social media platforms, allowing direct access to viewers.
Since then, BICMA has not followed with any further such measures to limit access to the website.
Questions to Bhutanomics for comments on the issue, and whether the content of its contributors can still be considered satire and parody, given public observations of mis-information and defamation, went unanswered as of last night.
By Gyalsten K Dorji