Impact of Social Media in Bhutan

Over the years, with the rapid growth and usage of social media in Bhutan, its interactive features and no holds barred nature has ensured that social media is now fast becoming a very popular source of news and views.

Impact of Social Media in Bhutan. (Source: http://enodoglobal.com)

 

By Sanjo Jendayi | The Bhutanese

Before social media or the media ever reached Bhutan, the country had a rich oral culture of not only passing down traditional stories, religious tales and local folklore but it was also an unofficial means of transmitting news and views.

The media came to Bhutan along with modernisation and soon professional journalists and verified news became the main source of news in Bhutan.

Social media overtook oral tradition in Bhutan

Over the years, with the rapid growth and usage of social media in Bhutan, its interactive features and no holds barred nature has ensured that social media is now fast becoming a very popular source of news and views.

However, just like the rest of the world and with two major elections looming this year, Bhutan is grappling with the challenge of handling fake news on social media as well as highly divisive rhetoric circulating online.

Bhutan’s oral culture suffered from occasional exaggerations or even rumours in response to certain popular fears and situations. The mass media occasionally makes factual errors and is also accused at times of not getting all the sides of a story.

The perils of fake news

However, social media is turning out to be an entirely different and much more dangerous ‘animal’. It is not only being used to deliberately create and spread fake news but it has fertile ground to grow in a country where the political culture is becoming increasingly partisan, extreme, intolerant and violent.

Death threats, threats of physical violence, sexual violence and maligning of each other due to mere political differences is becoming the norm in our social media.

Influence of fake news on Bhutanese youth

A large number of Bhutanese, including the more gullible young, now take their news and views from Facebook pages that are an open sewer of propaganda, fake news, lies and hate. What makes it worse is that an increasing number of youth have been influenced by such news and even participated in it.

The tragedy here is that political forces that were actually unleased in the form of politicians and parties to give shape to and strengthen Bhutanese democracy are the worst offenders encouraging such behaviour, both overtly and covertly.

Bhutan is a nation of around 700,000 people surrounded by 1.2 bn people in the south and 1.3 bn people in the north.

It does not require much intelligence or imagination to figure out what can happen to a small and divided nation and its people in a neighbourhood of competing giants.

“Social media is the only vehicle I know that progresses forward while the passengers regress.” 


                                                                                               Sanjo Jendayi

 

This article first appeared in The Bhutanese and has been edited for the New Bhutan Times.

 

 


Related Posts

Rural Bhutan Grapples with the Misuse of Social Media

While the penetration of social media has enhanced communication and transformed the information sharing culture in...

Oct 21, 2017 14:59

Media Students Intern in Media Houses

“The media students need more experience in their field as compared to the students from other courses,” said Anju...

Jan 31, 2018 06:58

New Social Studies Curriculum to Teach Tha Damtshi and Ley Judrey

“This is to impart knowledge to youth on how we function as a close-knitted community and play a vital role in the unity...

Mar 30, 2018 11:40

Applying the Concept of GNH on Social Enterprises

The essence of a social entrepreneur is what they can do and how they can balance the social and the commercial aspects...

Nov 14, 2017 07:47

Techstars Startup Weekend Bhutan (Eco-Tourism): 54 Hours where...

The eventful weekend saw 130 keen people in attendance, of which 56 pitched ideas. This was the fifth time that such an...

Nov 29, 2017 08:46

Recognising the Potential of Youth

A positive approach that recognises the potential of youth and the optimal utilisation of this potential is explored in...

Mar 04, 2018 23:48

Latest

News

Bhutan’s Satellite Deployed From ISS Along With Limited Edition Stamps Launched To Laud Event

Live-streamed on YouTube, representatives from various countries and institutes gathered at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in...

Aug 11, 2018 16:08

Daily Professional Fee Proposed For Tour Guides To Boost Tourism In Bhutan

Such an initiative is also thought to help boost the image of the profession in Bhutan and retain senior tour guides.

Aug 10, 2018 12:09

Features

Discover Raju’s Passion For Making The Traditional Bhutanese Bow And Arrow

The class VI drop-out earns at least Nu 8,000 a month by making bows and arrows.

Aug 08, 2018 16:09

Bhutan Marks World Ranger Day To Honour Women Rangers In The Country

The day, themed ‘Stand with the World’s Rangers’, was aimed at recognising women rangers in the country. Today, the forestry department has...

Aug 02, 2018 17:53

Sports

The Myriad Of Sporting Facilities Constructed In Bhutan To Promote Healthy Living

The government in its 11th FYP report stated that it undertook the development of various infrastructure and institutions to promote sports...

Jul 29, 2018 08:33

Adolescent Girls In Bhutan Learn About Health And Sanitation Through Weeklong District Cricket Championship

The national nutrition survey 2015 conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF Bhutan found anaemia in adolescent girls to be a critical...

Jul 21, 2018 16:29

Business

Start-up Centre In Bhutan Held Session To Provide Advice On Doing Business For Entrepreneurs

Guidance was provided during the first session on starting a business held at the newly established start-up centre at Changzamtog, Thimphu.

Aug 14, 2018 12:06

SDF To Develop E-Commerce Platform And Support Start-Ups In The South Asian Region

The SDF has already achieved and disbursed US$ 47mn for 12 cross-border projects.

Jul 24, 2018 09:03

Travel

About 91 % Of International Visitors Intend To Revisit Bhutan And 85 % Want To Recommend Nation Of Happiness To Others

The majority (80.4 %) of the international visitors expressed that the culture and traditional charm attracted them to Bhutan.

Aug 13, 2018 12:11

DrukAir To Fly Between Bhutan And Singapore Via Guwahati Starting Sept 1

The new flight will connect Paro to Singapore via Guwahati.

Aug 09, 2018 10:37

Lifestyle

Gokab – The First Dance Studio To Be Registered In Bhutan For Dancing Enthusiasts

Gokab, a youth group comprising of mostly dance enthusiasts, has seen a healthy growth of membership numbers since its inception in 2015.

Aug 12, 2018 15:44

Red Rice Is Bhutan's Staple Food And This Brewery Has Turned It Into Its Flagship Beer

Namgay Artisanal Brewery is the new kid on the block and it’s got everyone talking about its red rice lager.

Aug 03, 2018 14:04

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!