Citizens require more literacy on social media: ECB
The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) at the press conference on 19 October in Thimphu shared that social media literacy for citizens are required more than monitoring social media for defamatory content.
The third National Assembly election was successfully conducted in all the constituencies. However, it was not without challenges.
Social media is considered to be the deteriorating agent in the elections by some people. Instead of fighting the issues, the problem can be turned into an opportunity for good unless the defamatory content is not intended to create disharmony among parties and not against the institutions.
The chief election commissioner, Chogyal Dago Rigdzin, said that civic education is required instead of monitoring social media posts. “We should build trust in the society,” he said, “About 60 percent of our citizens are illiterate but they are not ignorant.”
Chogyal Dago Rigdzin also said that if all the posts are monitored and controlled, there will be more challenges instead of looking for resolutions. As the election process is not going to end in one or two years, he said citizens need education and awareness that whatever comes in facebook posts and in WeChat is not right information.
Platforms like facebook, WeChat and tweeters contributes to the shaping of opinions. However, Chogyal Dago Rigdzin said, the personal posts intended to destroy peace and sovereignty of the nation had to be removed. “We have removed about 19 posts from facebook which was intended to bring disharmony in the society.”
ECB reported 28 facebook posts in the general elections were found objectionable of which four were removed by the originating user and six were removed by the facebook authorities.
ECB's press release states, “Despite repeated request by Office of Media Arbitrator, the Facebook authorities did not remove 18 ”
Besides, the primary round elections saw 15 facebook posts objectionable of which three were removed by the originat- ing social media users on the advice of the monitors while four were removed by the facebook authorities. However, despite repeated request by media arbitrator, the facebook authorities did not remove eight.
The general elections saw a total of 21 disputes of which 14 were related to social media and that all disputes and complaints were addressed on time. Of the total, 14 cases were related to social media, while four cases were reported during the 48-hours no campaign period. However, seven cases were dismissed for being baseless.
The media arbitrator's office received nine complaints related to social media of which eight were investigated and forwarded to the commission and one was dismissed.
The press release also stated that during the general elections, the 20 social media monitors monitored 189 WeChat groups on a daily basis in the 47 constituencies.
ECB says no problems as such were encountered in the conduct of the polls. “No incidences were reported with regard to electronic voting machines in any of the polling stations.”
A total of 797 postal ballots have rejected because of ballot paper left unmarked or not marked properly, no identity declaration certificate or wrong VPIC with empty Envelope A or B and incompetent witness among others.
The chief election commissioner, said was rejected with substantial reasons. He said, “It is about one percent rejection rate from the total postal ballots received.” It is a reduction from the total 2019 rejections in the primary round.
The Election Commission of Bhutan officially declares the results of the third parliamentary election in a press conference last Friday.