Bhutan became one of the newest countries in the world to join the global village of information and technology in just a decade ago-precisely June 2, 1999 when His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyelpo announced the launching of television and internet. Since then, just over a period of decade, the use of internet in Bhutan has really picked up from white huge desktop computers with DOS to windows 95 to now flat screen with latest soft wares of windows 7. When I first used a computer decade ago, it took several minutes to just open Microsoft word and today, it hardly takes seconds to connect even with my friends abroad who are thousand miles away from me.
With an ever increasing number of internet users globally, social networks flourished more than any other webs. For instance, Facebook was launched just a few years ago but today it is considered to be one of the most popular social networks on the globe. With the coming of the social networks, I tried to keep the pace with the changing times and development. I used Hi5 to Tagged to Flixster, to Yahoo MSN to Facebook and now my own blogs. These tools has given the knowledge of how the world is changing and how my life is moving ahead. Through these webs, I could meet some of the oldest childhood friends to my deadliest enemies to the strangest persons on the earth.
I learnt on varieties of subjects from Climate Change to religion to sports to animals to anything that is existing on this earth and beyond. It has been like a one stop window for me. I keep a message to meet my friend during the weekends and we meet. I tell my lover how much I love her and we share plans we have and problems to solve. I keep in touch with my siblings and relatives since we cannot meet always because each one us are busy working.
Life has been going smoothly for the last many years like this until one morning. That morning I found that I was not able to access any of my social networks. At first I thought it was because of my network which later on proved wrong. It was blocked. But who blocked? I had no answer because no one informed me of the block. Since I had an important message to receive, I had leave the office in search of cafe. This was because I have never been informed of such and i could not inform my other party so I went o reply him the message.
We know, many employers around the world does not allow such social networks during official hours and Bhutan is no exception. I respect that, though I have never failed in my duties due to my the social networks, instead it helped me to perform better as I could exchange my ideas with other people and get their views. For me here, the problem is different issue, whoever has blocked my site should have the obligation to at least inform us on the issue. He/she must have thought that they have the right to block the site but they have forgotten one thing, the right comes with obligation.
Many issues lingered in my mind thereafter because I found that the person supposed blocked my site was browsing the same site in his computer. It was really annoying and unfair. When he has the right to block other from browsing, why has the liberty to avail the service? This also shows how much Bhutan is willing to move forward in the era of information and technology.
Article 7(3) of the Constitution states”A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to information”. When even the social networks outside the domain of Bhutan is able to keep me and my family, sibling and friends connected, provides me a huge length of knowledge and wisdom on different kinds of subjects and areas, I don’t see the reason for the blocking such useful sites permanently. The relevant officials have the right to regulate but I am afraid if the right is information is curtailed in this way when the rest of the world is moving far ahead of us because of enormous exposure and access to information. Its a irony that Bhutan will have a IT Park to be established in future with the present trend of policy on internet in Bhutan.