Intolerance speaks

 Gross National un-Happiness
It has been four years since 2012 and there is now a growing concern about the path that Bhutanese democracy is taking.

This is especially so as constitutional bodies and the media is coming under increasing pressure from an increasingly sensitive government.

The latest example is statements on BBS and other media outlets by the Health Minister and his officials that the ACC investigation on the MoH procurement scam led to the drugs shortage. The inference here is that the recent death of a patient should therefore be blamed on ACC. This is a patently untrue statement. While it is true that ACC did bar two corrupt suppliers the MoH could have easily accessed hundreds of other non-barred suppliers.

These statements apart from being a clumsy attempt to pass the drug shortage buck to the ACC will demotivate the anti corruption agency’s hardworking officials.

These statements show that despite all the talk of zero tolerance on corruption, in reality, the government has a dim view of ACC.

The Election Commission of Bhutan of late has also been at the receiving end of increasing government and political criticism. Not long ago the Chief Election Commissioner was viciously and personally attacked for doing his job through an open letter from the government printed in media outlets.

There was almost a vindictive sense of triumph as leading politicians questioned the ECB budget and expenditure.  This is seen by many as an effort to cut the ECB down to size.

Bhutan’s Royal Audit Authority may be the only audit agency in the world having a ‘positive section’ in all its reports in highlighting the positives of audited issues. This according to audit officials is a result of fierce criticism by this government on the ‘language’ in the RAA reports.

Another disturbing trend of RAA in Bhutan is that RAA reports on various issue are kept hidden and only shared with a select group of senior government officials. The reports are also not shared with Members of Parliament and other senior officials. The government’s attitude is to try and keep RAA reports confidential from the time it is released till it is forgotten.

The media especially in recent times has become the favorite whipping boy for almost all issues under the sun.

All is well as long as the media does critical or investigative stories on the opposition party sympathizers which include some big business houses. The media agency is praised till the heavens, the reporters in question are hailed as heroes and these stories are bandied about as proof of press freedom in Bhutan.

However, when the same paper and reporters criticize the government all hell breaks loose and the papers are tagged as being sympathetic to the opposition. In what is becoming an increasingly ugly atmosphere media houses are under increasing pressure to conform or suffer the opposition party tag and with it comes undisguised and clumsy attempts to destroy the credibility of media houses and media professionals. A recent example of the increasing government intolerance to criticism is when a BBS reporter reporting from the GNH conference in New York said that the Prime Minister ascribed criticism of the GNH conference as being politically motivated.

Never mind, that nearly every media outlet had criticized the New York GNH conference for taking away the government spotlight on the rupee crisis.

Even the most innocent criticisms these days are are ascribed  to the worst possible intentions one of which is that some media houses are criticizing the government to undermine democracy.

This first elected government has the unique responsibility of strengthening Bhutanese democracy. This government in its first few years seemed to know what it was doing making the right noises and moves especially in the context of encouraging media freedom.

However, of late a heavy fog of intolerance, vitriol and machinations seems to be the order of the day, and in the end the only casualty will be a genuine and healthy democracy.

About The Bhutanese

14 comments

  1. bhutan’s first democratically elected government is behaving like nothing more than a spoilt brat. they think they can do anything and take whatever they want and everything is always somebody else’s fault. 

    • Don’t be so cynical man, what are you trying to prove here.

    • which is why it seems they have appointed their own chief complainer Ghostwriter in this forum. What he says mirrors exactly what the article is complaining about.

  2. This is a paper that might have the potential of undoing the peaceful Bhutanese society-a paper that does not have anything positive to say about the country, its people and culture. It is a paper that is breeding a lot of negativity in the country by sensationalising and blowing out of proportion many issues.
    I wonder whether Tenzing Lamsang has any inkling of what responsible reporting is all about. I can’t rule out his having ulterior motive of either dismantling the hard-built peaceful bhutanese society or serving the political interests of some dodgy political interest groups who very well may be his financers. I would urge all bhutanese to be very discerning and mindful in reading this paper.

    • I think , Parop is PM’s or DPT’s  shoe licker. All the things this paper has written so far is facts n figures. I would be disturbed, in fact very disturbed if any one of the corruption this paper was not correct but up to now the paper has passed the water test.
      So, in stead of raising false alarm, be grateful to this paper who digged out so many skeletons from the closest.
      Guys it’s time, we as a citizen protect the prized gift that our  4th king gave us that is “democracy” . It’s time we stand our feet and call “Green” a green and not say what govt and PM wants to hear.
      ‘What man is a man, if he doesn’t try to make a world a better place’.
      God bless the land of GNH..

  3. This article depicts the worst piece of journalism I have ever read, can you even call this sort of thing from the Bhutanese as journalism. How can one even start to believe such crap attributed to the government asbelow:

    ‘All is well as long as the media does critical or investigative stories on the opposition party sympathizers which include some big business houses. The media agency is praised till the heavens, the reporters in question are hailed as heroes and these stories are bandied about as proof of press freedom in Bhutan.’

    This is not responsible journalism at all, rather it is like an essay competition, come on ‘The Bhutanese’ needs to be far better than this, if they want to be seen as an unbiased news agency.

    As for tingting, I don’t know his agenda here, apart from it being to cast aspersions against the RGOB.

    • i think ghostwriter is epitome of what this article is trying to address that is wrong with this government. 

      • Haha, my message is that a newspaper just cannot get so downright petty, like the Bhutanese does. In fact real Bhutanese are so far removed from what this newspaper is trying portray us to be, it should actually think of changing it’s name.

      • “aspersions against the rgob”…well i don’t know if i want to call the government the Royal Government anymore, even though that’s what it is supposed to be called still. The government and head of government is now elected. here today gone tomorrow. aspersions against these guys…why ever not!? When they deserve it I mean.

  4. This is very true.

  5. Do not believe in whatever this media brings out……..we know exactly what the gov. is doing…..Be mindful that lyoenchen was there in New York not for his personal gains…..he has traveled there with genuine reasons……Please do some mindful reporting.

    I think paper should also report to the nation on the positive outcome our lyoenchen has brought for us as PARCEL from New York…….let us be little responsible.

  6. Well, PM thought it’s more better and comforting to be at New York with some HIfi People and educate them on GNH then, Appear on TV to calm his Panic Fellow citizens, Well if somebody calls that a good leadership hmmm i have big doubt on his intentions and his actions both. The question that pooped into my mind was” Is it a stunt to by this govt (DPT) to shift the focus away from home, where people are not able to buy daily staple diet”. 
    He should have appeared on TV long long time ago, yet he thought otherwise.Which i as a citizen find it very odd and very disturbing.
    He chose to come finally. at least he bothered and took the trouble finally to use his strongest weapon “the gaping” for which he is famous for. Yet  I found nothing concrete as measure which he suggested which could lead to solving of this rupee problem (the monkey on our back).
    I found nothing wrong in this paper.

  7. People in the MOH are known to shift blame to others for their utter failure to even provide the most basic of drugs.First they want to clean the system, then at one point they blamed the doctors presciption for the shortage.Now they are blaming the ACC and one fine day they will claim that drug shortages are because of patients….hehehe..how pathetic the MOH has become now….so sad.

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