The central election dispute settlement body (CEDSB) has warned and imposed a fine worth minimum wage for 30 days to Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s Punakha dzongkhag coordinator, Namgay Rinchen.

In the order issued yesterday, it stated that the coordinator violated section 4.4 of the Social Media Rules and Regulations of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2018 and section 29.1.1 of the Election Dispute Settlement Rules and Regulation 2018.

Namgay Rinchen was warned and fined after the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) general secretary, Sangay Phurpa, lodged a complaint against Namgay Rinchen on October 2, accusing him of spreading false news in WeChat by stating that DPT has tainted Indo-Bhutan friendship and that India would withdraw development assistance and imports if DPT forms the government.

The complaint was first lodged to the office of the media arbitrator (OMA) where Namgay Rinchen confirmed that he sent the WeChat audio message, which was later converted into an mp3 format and shared in the DNT North Thimphu WeChat group. He claimed that he shared it as a concerned citizen because of the Indian media’s (NWF) viral video about the issue on Facebook.

The office investigated the matter and forwarded the findings to the CEDSB.

ECB also ordered DNT and DPT to take appropriate administrative action in accordance to section 29.1.5 of the Election Dispute Settlement Rules and Regulations of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2018 in order to prevent such disputes.

The commission ordered the two parties to include their candidates, dzongkhag coordinators and dzongkhag social media monitors in their social media (WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger) groups.

Tashi Dema