English | Dzongkha Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ECB accepts DPT’s complaint against former NC Chairperson

Kinley Dem, Thimphu
Sep 5, 2018

The Office of the Media Arbitrator for the National Assembly Elections 2018 has now accepted the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) complaint against the former National Council Chairperson, Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga.

The DPT lodged a formal written complaint with the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) yesterday. But the Office of the Media Arbitrator did not accept the complaint as it did not fulfil few requirements under Section 9.4 of the Election Dispute Settlement Rules and Regulations.

In a non-acceptance of the complaint letter issued to DPT yesterday, the Office of the Media Arbitrator said the complaint doesn’t contain material facts as required by Section 9.4.2 of the rules.

“The material facts here refer to the identification, documentary evidence, and such similar facts,” the letter explains.

“The complaint doesn’t cover all points in the Election Dispute Settlement Form No. 1, especially in number 2 and 3 under details of complaint in the form, as required by section 9.4.5 of the Rules.”

As advised by the media arbitrator’s office, the DPT re-submitted the complaint today upon fulfilling the above-mentioned requirements.

On 31st August, Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga posted on his personal Facebook account a summary of his book.

In the post, Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga writes that his book titled “Political Contests as Moral Battles: A Perspective on Bhutan’s Democratic Transition” is about how “DPT won and lost elections and many more things related to pre and post 2008 elections.”

The post generated substantial interest among netizens and sparked mixed reactions from them. A lot of them questioned the intent, appropriateness and timing of the post given it came at an election time.

The DPT first reported the post to the election commission via email on 1st September.

“In the wake of the election campaigns and after ECB’s notification calling the general public to refrain from posting derogatory remarks against any political party candidate, this Facebook post of Dasho is totally uncalled for,” DPT stated in its email to ECB.

“Former Chairperson Dr Sonam Kinga’s post related to the summary of his upcoming book is particularly targeted towards DPT and I think the issue is more about timing and the coincidence because it’s against the ECB’s social media policy,” Lily Wangchuk, the Vice President of DPT, said.

“Not everything he has written in that summarized version is true,” Lily Wangchuk added.

ECB’s Social Media Rules and Regulations states that no individual shall communicate, transmit or post hate messages or any content with an intent to defame or reduce the electoral chances of an opposing contestant or a political party.

It also states that any communication via telephonic means, including individual or bulk SMS, or the internet including Telegram, Instagram, WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus, blogs, websites, personal or official, individual or entity, textual or graphics, video or voice, shall be determined as political advertising if the content pertains to elections, political views or positions, or in any way can be understood to be in support or against a candidate or party contesting elections.

BBS did contact the former National Council Chairperson in regard to his post. When asked what he has to say about it, Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga said he has no comments.

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