PM res­o­lute on anony­mous writ­ers

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Chen­cho Dema from Thim­phu

De­scrib­ing it as his so­cial mes­sage to ev­ery­one for the next five years, Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing main­tained that anony­mous writ­ers caus­ing dishar­mony in the so­ci­ety and di­vid­ing the peo­ple is what he does not ac­cept.

The PM made the re­sponse af­ter Busi­ness Bhutan ques­tioned him on the video which has gone vi­ral in so­cial me­dia where the PM is speak­ing to a gath­er­ing, call­ing for im­pris­on­ing anony­mous writ­ers in jails.

In the 29 sec­onds video clip, the PM is seen say­ing, “This is not a part of our pledge, but how much money it takes, what­ever ex­per­tise it takes, we will find it and go af­ter anony­mous writ­ers even if it means build­ing a prison in each district. This is the new pledge of Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa (DNT).”

How­ever, Ly­onch­hen said the

video was cropped and he had started say­ing that if there were any peo­ple in the gath­er­ing who were anony­mous writ­ers or were present in the gath­er­ing to stop writ­ing so.

“It was my per­sonal mes­sage and a causal com­ment and how can one build a prison just for anony­mous writ­ers,” he said.

Ly­onch­hen added that dur­ing the first Meet-ThePress he shared the same mes­sage, ex­cept the term ‘prison’ to the me­dia.

How­ever, Ly­onch­hen said he stands firm in his po­si­tion when it comes to anony­mous writ­ers.

“Writ­ing for so­cial fun by anony­mous writ­ers is ab­so­lutely fine and I don’t care but bring­ing dishar­mony, writ­ing bla­tant lies to pull down peo­ple is what I dis­like and I mean it from my heart,” he said.

Ly­onch­hen said he will re­spect the free­dom of ex­pres­sion and speech if it is not an anony­mous writer, adding that as far as pos­si­ble he will be go­ing strong against anony­mous writ­ers, who in­tend to bring dishar­mony and di­vi­sion among the peo­ple.

How­ever, the PM’s re­sponse has not gone well with cer­tain writ­ers and peo­ple who are ac­tive on so­cial me­dia.

A re­tired jour­nal­ist cur­rently pur­su­ing his stud­ies abroad said there is a need to clas­sify ma­li­cious agen­das from crit­i­cal opin­ion in the anony­mous writ­ing cul­ture. “But will catch­ing ev­ery­one and im­pris­on­ing be a so­lu­tion? I don’t know,” he said.

How­ever, he said that it cer­tainly will also come as a breach on the free­dom of speech if such an ap­proach is taken. “I think there can be bet­ter ways to tackle this then tak­ing this path as a re­spon­si­ble and sen­si­ble gov­ern­ment,” he added.

A se­nior jour­nal­ist and ed­i­tor, Gopi­lal Acharya, who writes on pol­i­tics, said it looked like he was vent­ing his frus­tra­tion against anony­mous writ­ers.

“It was just an opin­ion of then a party pres­i­dent but of a Prime Min­is­ter. I find noth­ing se­ri­ous. The se­ri­ous is­sue is about the anony­mous writ­ers not about what the PM said that ev­ery­one is frus­trated about the is­sue. They should be grounded for that mat­ter,” he said.

An­other ac­tive blog­ger, Wangcha San­gay, wrote on the is­sue, de­scrib­ing it as the first pub­lic com­mit­ment to built ad­di­tional pris­ons in all 20 Dzongkhags in­stead of hos­pi­tals or schools, first pub­lic com­mit­ment to witch hunt fake ac­count hold­ers to fill the new pris­ons in­stead of cre­at­ing job op­por­tu­ni­ties for job­less peo­ple, and rev­o­lu­tion­ary means of solv­ing lack of em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Fake ac­counts and false pro­pa­ganda posts surged dur­ing the elec­tions. Could be po­lit­i­cal party in­spired also rather than only in­di­vid­ual do­ings. DNT Party, too, can­not be to­tally in­no­cent. But such things do not war­rant na­tional gov­er­nance pri­or­ity. These ma­li­cious winds of pol­i­tics sim­mer down nat­u­rally if fair and pos­i­tive gov­er­nance takes hold af­ter the elec­tion,” he stated.

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing and Home Min­is­ter Sherub Gyelt­shen of­fered prayers to His Emi­nence Kyabje Kathok Situ Rin­poche at the 5th an­nual Tse­drup that is be­ing presided over by Rin­poche for the well-be­ing of Their Majesties, His Ho­li­ness the Je-Khenpo, HRH the Gyalsey, Mem­bers of The Royal Fam­ily and for the ben­e­fit of all sen­tient be­ings at the Na­tional Memo­rial Chorten yes­ter­day.

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