Social media and Bhutan

Social media was the subject of Bhutan’s attention on two occasions last month.

In one, the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy organized a conference to discuss “… the current social media scene in Bhutan and … how this can be used to benefit Bhutanese society.” The conference, which also provided “… a step by step guide to using Twitter and Facebook …”, took place on 29th and 30th March.

In the other, the government issued a circular pointing out that social media sites were “taking a toll on the productivity of the government machinery” and suggesting that social sites “… should be blocked in the office servers during the official working hours”. The circular, reproduced below, goes on to caution that “Measures adopted is to come into effect not later than 31st March, 2011.”


Facebook Comments:


  1. Totally Oxymoron, authorities confused!!!!
    I personally feel that, social networks be blocked in offices and institutions but not in other areas. If such networks are blocked for whole country we will be no different from JA-MEG.
    Social network sites does hamper the office works to certain extents, but not for everyone. There are some who uses these networks for good cause without disturbing themselves of the office works.BUT, everyone is not same. Thereby I’m going with the Director.

  2. Web 2 Technology, commonly referred to as social network site has been developed to increase efficiency in the way we communicate in the office, company of other settings. Unfortunately, some people are misusing the technology to spread hate and incite violence. Also, many spend unusually long time indulging in face book, Hi 5, twitters, my space etc. which eats up the efficiency and time for other works.

    My suggestion is not outright ban or restriction for people to use the technology. But launch more public awareness and education; and perhaps we may strike a balance. But one thing is sure; no matter what, the technology is going to stay and people will use it.


  3. Shop Lifter says

    This surely is a “Draconian” policy. Today’s world is an age of Information. If information through social media is blocked, does this not imply that the government is just doing the opposite of what they are saying through this circular?
    We are not living in the 90s where most of our people even didn’t know what a computer is. Things have changed. Even the Layaps use motor cycles and mobile phones today.

    Banning social sites won’t bring any productivity to the government. In fact the government and all its machinery will lose its credibility. Our government should know that ‘life’ is not just ‘work at office’.
    If the government intends to stop social interactions, it must surely be having a hidden agenda behind the curtain – to do things on their own without being exposed to the outside world?
    If this is the intention, then I must say that the whole purpose of our democracy is defeated.
    Trying to block the social sites in today’s age will be like trying to touch the sky by raising your hand. This is simply not possible. DPT. Please don’t do this. This is not wise.

  4. The letter specifies “office” which I guess means only civil service which is very reasonable and logical.

    while I am Pro-social media I am also against civil servants busy on the social sites during office hours. It’s quite frustrating you visit an office for some service and the concerned official is busy chatting on the Facebook making you stand like a fool.

    In addition, I also appreciate our politicians being active on the net with the option to comment and raise issues. I wish our ruling government also has a dynamic blog where we can comment like on yours la.

  5. Dogchok-gi-dokchog says

    The circular says the blockade is for governemnt offices and during office hours, not outright blockade for every one and at all hours. The OL and his buddies, I assume, do not fall within the purview of this circular and can go on blogging to eternity.

  6. DorjiDrolo says

    Another BAN. I hope not.

    Everyone knows who is misusing and who is putting to good use.

    When will we learn. Setting the forest to fire to kill some rats. Really sad sad.

  7. Now, this is made to sound like the controversial tobacco ban. Smoking was never banned but people thought it was.

    Now, likewise, some people are jumping to the conclusion that the use of social media, particularly, facebook is banned in Bhutan, which is grossly incorrect. The circular specifically states that use of facebook is banned from ‘government offices’ during ‘office hours’ only. So, people, don’t get agitated and prance around like a mad child.

    I am a civil servant and I know how people waste time on facebook, either chatting or playing farmville games. This doesn’t bode well for a country with the policy of a compact and efficient civil servants. If half of the compact civil servants are doing nothing, how can our country develop.

    Good move by the government.

  8. kuenzang says

    Dear all,

    Who can assure that blocking social networks can contribute to more productive work????

    I would really love to hear other strategies rather all about banning or blocking or controlling.

  9. Truth_is_Buddha says

    Social media is a powerful medium, when used in the positive cotext. “Banning” again is not a positive solution, I feel. The advancement of media could be used effectively for enhancing productivity and deepening the knowledge base of any organisation. Social media can provide the necessary platform for healthy debate, identification of issues, integrating solutions and increasing knowledge networks. If civil servants have the luxury of surfing uselessly, then it is a case of “not enough work” to keep them productively occupied. The agencies should look into job descriptions, work plans, & deliverables of each individual, rather than block internet. Effective monitoring of work assignments and accountability needs to be strengthened. This will help to set standards and focus on the work culture. There will be a host of other indulgence even in absence of internet, if an official has no real work to do or is not sufficiently motivated. Shutting down internet sites will not guarantee any enhancement in productivity. Let us look at the causes and aspire to treat them and not the symptoms.

  10. ban..ban..ban…where is our country heading to?

  11. Right decision at the right time. I am a civil servant and I know what effect social networking sites have on work.
    It should be left open before and after the office hours.

  12. Tobacco is bad so I abuse it! says

    Instead of banning social media in the office, i think the managers and higher ups should control their pupils in an office and if they fail to do so then the Govt. should Donald Trump them and say “You are fired!”
    Too much job security has been given that people no longer care anymore. Because they know no matter how much they screw up the job will still remain theirs.

  13. well it depends a lot of the user, such social sites can also be used for productive purposes such as organizing events/meeting/etc and reaching to a larger audience.
    But in our context, i think its a good thing that these social sites are blocked during office hrs.

  14. guardian says

    I think the government is right in placing this ban in government offices. All those complaining will be those who are most affected by this ban.

  15. Sangay,

    I think you are the Oxymoron here, blindly accepting whatever the OL tweets. If you read the directives from the cabinet in it’s entirety, it clearly is meant only for government offices etc.

  16. It is not outright ban!!! just blocking it during office hours. This is perfectly ok as long as we can access during lunch break and after office…This kind of ofc hr blocks are there almost everywhere in international companies and develop countries….

  17. says

    Two very important posts are lying vacant. Who will fill them up.

    Any thoughts:-
    MD of BBS.
    DG of Tourism Council of Bhutan

  18. Social Media should be banned in office because your employer pays you for your work and not for socialising. But we should also keep in mind the power of social media in fostering a healthy democracy. Social media is the need of the moment because we are bogged down with hierarchy and SM is the only outlet where we can freely speak our mind.

  19. How long is the sentence using it?

    Anything that brings people together and fighting for the common cause seems to be banned by the government.

  20. i m a businessman and i have to deal with many govt. corporate and pvt organisations personal like engineer,finance, etc but i had a bed experience in one of the office that the concern person was with playing with farm villa and he don’t dare to answer to my question as if he was seriously doing some work. i think most of the people are happening same as me. so i would suggest if the govt. or concern agencies can block these type of business during the office hours. it will be gud.

  21. we appreciate your effort in the act of transparency. DPT needs watch dog, because they are interested in themselves than the welfare of the people esp the MPS,the money eaters. you are our voice….. lets do something for the poorer section of society..
    best wisher……

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