Member of Parliament from Bomdeling Jamkhar constituency, Dupthob, asked Minister for Information and Communications on the initiatives taken up to ban or prohibit the online PUBG during the question and answer hour session yesterday.
The MP said that PUBG is one of the most popular online games played by the youth nowadays, and it has become quite a great concern for both parents and teachers. Besides the huge psychological impact, it also creates inconvenience and disturbance for the youth while studying. And he also stated that Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) has recommended for PUBG to be banned but it is still yet to be implemented.
Responding to the question, the Information and Communication Minister Karma Donnen agreed that the online PUBG does indeed impact the youth’s psychology. He reported that the ministry requested BICMA to look into the issue and that BICMA in collaboration with internet operators, like Bhutan Telecom, Tashi Cell, and NANO plan to explore the possible solution.
However, the minister mentioned that the game is available on the online game server and that countries all over the world are exploring ways to ban the game completely. He also mentioned that since the parent company of the game ‘Tencent’ is also the parent company of many apps the Bhutanese use, like i and TikTok, therefore, it is difficult to go ahead with the banning of the game.
Lyonpo said that the government is working to ban PUBG, but it is not easy because the Internet was designed to avoid being blocked, so banning and restricting is difficult.
“Forget about our country; developed nations are also grappling with the same problem. However, because it is our responsibility, we are tackling it. In the future, popular games will emerge one by one, and we cannot say that we will be able to ban them all, but we are working hard to do so,” Lyonpo said.
Meanwhile, the minister requested the teachers and parents to keep an eye on their children’s internet activities.
Following several complaints, particularly from parents, at the start of 2019, BICMA conducted a study in January 2019, and discovered that there is a need to discourage people from playing PUBG. Its full form is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a battle royale shooter that pits 100 players against each other in a battle for survival. This game was found to be addictive in nature causing people to neglect their studies and duties the world over.
BICMA issued a notification to Internet operators, like Bhutan Telecom, Tashi Cell and NANO to make this game inaccessible within the country on 1 October 2019 but the ban has not worked.