Stifling Dissent

It is extremely unfortunate that Druk Net a government Internet Services Provider has blocked or disabled Bhutannomics. Going by the reluctance of Druk Net official to say who asked them to block it the guess is that it is someone senior in the government. Going by the list of people who Bhutannomics attacked the main suspects would be politicians.

The blocking of Bhutannomics will push Bhutan into an elite club of countries like North Korea, China, Iran and Syria, where the internet is actively controlled by the government to block critical websites.

The blocking of Bhutannomics may not technically qualify as an unfair election practices but morally it is an unfair election practice.

In 2008 bhutantimes.com was highly critical of the PDP party which played a role in influencing at least educated voters. However, during the elections there was no effort to block bhutantimes.com.

However, DPT seems to even be clinically intolerant of any criticism and has gone to the extent of stopping this website.

A neutral and balanced analysis of the Bhutannomics content will reveal that the website is not necessarily anti-government and in fact criticizes all section of society like political parties, National Council, Judiciary, Media, autonomous institutions etc. Therefore, it is a balanced website which though anonymous does not have any single agenda.

The government going after this website therefore demonstrates that even if one is neutral, criticism towards the government will not be tolerated.

The Bhutannomics website of late was focusing a lot on the Gyelpozhing case along with commentary and going a step beyond the mainstream in exposing some obvious details. Perhaps this may have been the immediate reason in blocking it.

Sites like Bhutantimes.com and bhutannomics.com though not perfect are very important for Bhutanese democracy. It allows people to express their opinions without any fear of crackdowns and backlash. This opinion though unofficial informs the government and policy makers what is the ‘real’ public perception or thought on a particular issue. The government based on this popular opinion can then avoid making mistakes.

Bhutan does have a mainstream media but the bigger media houses are government controlled while the new ones are dying or too scared to give proper coverage. The Bhutanese newspaper had done some critical reporting on some big scams but it seems that the government is now punishing it by stopping advertisement.

In this scenario it is only natural that people will be afraid to express their real opinions in public or in the formal media and will instead come out on such websites.

by rinzin

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5 comments

  1. its for sure Bhutan is going to be elite. Blocking of Bhutannomic  save the one who go in wrong track to bring in right track. Infact wrong track will benifit them.  who comment Druknet server to block Bhutannomic.  Speaking frankly bhutan is still not a democartic in reality.  Politian act as a what they are when they serve country is monarch. Equity and justice  for DPT is no where. its just equity and justice for them. 

  2. so is it say WHAT I WANT YOU TO SAY not what you think or opine,  in Bhutan? Is it ALL ‘animal farm’ in Bhutan? Perhaps that’s bound to happen in a country that believes more in ancient traditions of government and rule than modern people-centred governance. 

  3. I did not know about this Bhutanomics before and as such what is going on there. I also dont care about it. But what concerns me most is the action taken by the government( if it is the case). I hear GM druknet giving all the reasons being not involved in it which was unnecessary. He should have just said, ‘I don’t know.” put full stop there. I could feel he is rationalizing to defend himself which made me believe that he wasn’t telling the truth. If druknet doesn’t know then i fell scared about it.

  4. Karma Jamtsho

    Unbalanced Coverage 
    I watched with interest the news coverage of the BBS on the blocking of the Bhutannomics website. Though the topic was interesting I felt the news coverage was biased in favor of the government. 
    Both the tone and the content of the news coverage was aimed at declaring that Bhutannomics was not blocked by the government. 
    The Dzongkha news section was particularly biased though the English section was better particularly due to the guest speaker. 
    The coverage first gave more time to the government officials like MoIC Secretary and Druk Net to deny and dismiss that Bhutannomics was blocked. This was highly suspicious when officials from MoIC and Druk Net had already said the same in stories by The Bhutanese and Kuensel published a week before. 
    As a regular reader of both Kuensel and The Bhutanese I had seen that both papers had covered the story and given the government its say. However, BBS suspiciously featured only The Bhutanese paper’s stories perhaps attempting to show that this was a story covered by just one paper which has an anti-government track record. 
    The BBS also referred to Bhutan being defamed internationally as international media had picked up on this issue. However, on closer observation the so called ‘international media’ is a bloggers site without much influence. 
    The partisan coverage also failed to mention that The Bhutanese and Kuensel had both already carried the government version denying the blockage. Instead it was made to appear that BBS was the one getting the other side’s view on the issue. 
    This is not the first time that BBS has attempted to silence criticism against the government. In an earlier one-sided coverage the BBS upheld the government’s stance on Denchi Land case even after a second story by The Bhutanese completely proved the government’s rebuttal wrong based on strong facts. 

  5. why my earlier comment is not posted. It is simply because i wrote it in favour of blocking the bhutanomics which is not good for Bhutan. A 100% biased site which I personally feel not worth a keep. This paper itself is 100% biased one because you don’t post comments which is against you or parts of bhuanomics team. Such biased paper or site will make a slow death itself because people’s confidence cannot be gained in performing such an unjust work.

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