To­wards a So­cial Me­dia Pol­icy

Bhutan Times - - Home - An­jana Subba

Role of gov­ern­ment re­gard­ing so­cial me­dia pol­icy was ex­plained as “in­stru­ment to har­ness the pos­i­tive use of so­cial me­dia and min­i­mize the dan­ger­ous ef­fects”. The ap­proach to pol­icy by the gov­ern­ment can be “soft/light touch”, that is, self reg­u­la­tion most in use in demo­cratic coun­tries, “hard touch”, that is, gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion in non demo­cratic coun­tries, and a mid­dle path of the soft and hard touch is “gov­ern­ment as the model user” which is con­sid­ered as global best pol­icy prac­tice. Ac­cord­ing to gov­ern- ment of Bhutan “Royal gov­ern­ment of Bhutan sees so­cial me­dia as an im­por­tant tool for op­er­a­tional­iz­ing our Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness”.

This was re­vealed at the dis­cus­sion on so­cial me­dia pol­icy and guide­lines that took place last Wed­nes­day or­ga­nized by Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (MoIC) . Pre­sent­ing his views on the so­cial me­dia pol­icy Dr. Em­manuel C. Lal­lana , Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of idea­corp – an in­de­pen­dent, non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion fo­cused on the use of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) in gov­er­nance and ed­u­ca­tion, in business and the econ­omy and in trans- form­ing so­ci­ety based in Philip­pines em­phases in­ter­net based tools or shar­ing in­for­ma­tion.

He also made his ar­gu­ment say­ing that, there is a need to evolve the rules and norms for the pro­duc­tive and in­no­va­tive use of the so­cial me­dia, but it is “not just gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity”; It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the so­ci­ety, par­ents, schools and the over­all com­mu­nity. He also added the im­por­tance of mak­ing norm by say­ing, “use sticks for short term re­sults but for long term re­sults in avoid­ing vi­o­la­tion of the rules and reg­u­la­tion will be norms”. He also dis­cussed about Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, where, Web 1.0 is mostly read only web and in­for­ma­tion is down­load­able, and Web 2.0 is widely read and write web which is down­load­able and in­ter­ac­tive, ex­am­ple, face­book.

He fur­ther em­pha­sized about so­cial me­dia and said that “so­cial me­dia is a plat­form” as the con­tent is cre­ated by the users, “so­cial me­dia is more about re­la­tion­ship” that con­nects with fam­i­lies and friends and makes the cost of work­ing abroad not that high. He also gave the ex­am­ple of Ice­land where the cit­i­zens are al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in draft­ing of fun­da­men­tal law through so­cial me­dia. He also added that so­cial me­dia does not op­er­ate in vac­uum, “so­cial me­dia re­flects com­mu­nity” and “so­cial me­dia be­comes a turbo chan­nel for ru­mor-mill”.

He also dis­cussed more about other so­cial me­dia, such as, ‘blog” as a pow­er­ful tool for teach­ing stu­dents as they tend to get bored by class “read­ing and writ­ing” ses­sions and are more in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing blogs for broad­en­ing ideas and col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion re­lated to cur­rent is­sues, also blogs cre­ates a trust be­tween the pub­lic and gov­ern­ment. He also de­fined Wikipedia as, “a col­lab­o­ra­tively edited, mul­ti­lin­gual, free in­ter­net en­cy­clo­pe­dia” and in­tel­li­pedia, “which is a en­cy­clo­pe­dia for the spies/ in­tel­li­gent and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies”.

He also com­bined so­cial me­dia with ed­u­ca­tion and said “ed­u­ca­tion hap­pens beyond the four walls of the class­room”. He fur­ther ex­panded the points in the fol­low­ing ways, “Pod­cast and life­long learn­ing” ex­am­ple ra­dio lab, TED talks and Ja­pan cast; “Fo­rums and de­lib­er­ate democ­racy” it pro­vides the op­por­tu­nity to cit­i­zens to ex­pand their de­lib­er­a­tion; “Youtube and pub­lic health” ex­am­ple of “Farmer­book” in In­dia for pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion about farm­ing through youtube among the farm­ers; “Twit­ter and so­cial me­dia” it pro­vides a plat­form to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion, ex­am­ple, use of twit­ter for traf­fic man­age­ment in Jakarta.

So­cial me­dia pol­icy also has cer­tain code of con­ducts for the users, such as, be­have on­line as you would off­line and be a good cit­i­zen, re­spon­si­ble, trans­par­ent, ac­cu­rate, con­sid­er­ate and care­ful. It also pro­vided guide­lines to civil ser­vants re­gard­ing “ac­cess to so­cial me­dia” which should be of­fi­cial use only and “staff be­hav­ior”, that is, civil ser­vants code of con­ducts and ethics; and helps in ca­pac­ity build­ing through train­ing for civil ser­vants, so­cial me­dia lit­er­acy cam­paign and pro­mo­tion of pos­i­tive use of so­cial me­dia and counter at­tack neg­a­tiv­ity. MoIC plays an im­por­tant role in as­sist­ing agen­cies in im­ple­men­ta­tion of poli­cies, mon­i­tor im­ple­men­ta­tion, is­sue yearly re­port and re­view pol­icy ev­ery 2 years.

The neg­li­gence and ig­no­rance of the Bhutanese so­cial me­dia users, with the ex­am­ple of the re­cent in­ci­dent in face­book about the post­ing of photographs of in­di­vid­u­als who com­mit­ted sui­cide was also dis­cussed. . So­cial me­dia is a new as­pect for Bhutan but it is spread­ing all around rapidly. It has brought pos­i­tiv­ity as well as neg­a­tiv­ity and so­cial me­dia pol­icy is a gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to de­crease the neg­a­tiv­ity for the pop­u­la­tion. But it is an in­com­plete step un­less the users abide to it.

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