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.