Call for sensitive social media users

It is a common practise today to share questionable images on social media platforms like WeChat.

Recently, social media users were sharing a graphic image of a woman who had her throat slit. Information accompanying the image claimed that the woman’s husband murdered her in Punakha.

While some social media users are aware that information circulating online has to be questioned and verified, many tend to accept the information without question.

The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) maintains that the information accompanying the image is not true and that no such incident took place in Punakha. “We even verified throughout the country and found it untrue,” a police official said.

A 30-year-old corporate employee, Sonam Kezang said that the gruesome picture of the woman was disturbing. “Whether the incident is true or not, posting of such pictures is not healthy,” he said.

He also said if the incident is true, people should not share it since it would impact the deceased’s family. “People who share such pictures may not have the intention but they are causing more damage to the family.”

Dechen Wangmo, 31, said she could not look at the pictures. “I get affected when I see such horrifying pictures,” she said. “

A corporate employee, Tashi, said it was disturbing to see a picture of a man suspected of murdering his mother in Dorokha, Samtse being circulated among social media users. “I don’t know if he was the man who murdered his mother but until the court convicts him, he is innocent.”

Police officials said that awareness should be created on the use of social media for the public. “We don’t have authority to take action on those who circulate such images,” a police official said. “There should be a victim or a complaint if we have to take action.”

The director general of the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA), Chencho Dorji said there is no law or rules framed for the use of social media.

“We don’t have directives of social media policy but once we get the directives than it will be easier for a regulator agency like us to implement it,” he said.

However, the social media policy 2016 was approved and the Department of Information and Media will be conducting advocacy on the social media policy at all levels.

Yeshey Dema

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