Bhutan 🇧🇹 is an Asian country which practices Buddhism.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech including for members of the press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. Citizens can publicly and privately criticize the government without reprisal. The constitution states that persons "shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on the person’s honor and reputation," and the government generally respects these prohibitions.
Bhutan is a very small, isolated kingdom in the Himalayas with an old and distinctive culture; and as such, the government has taken great measures to limit or eliminate foreign influences in the country, including in media. Even Western clothes and professional wrestling are considered corrupting influences there. Bhutan's domestic film industry only began in 1989, while television and internet weren't even allowed until 1999.
Individuals and groups are generally permitted to engage in peaceful expression of views via the Internet. Government officials state that the government does not block access, restrict content, or censor Web sites. However, Freedom House reports the government occasionally blocks access to Web sites containing pornography or information deemed offensive to the state; but that such blocked information typically does not extend to political content. In its Freedom of the Press 2012 report, Freedom House described high levels of self-censorship among media practitioners, despite few reports of official intimidation or threats.
The official forums of Kuensel online allow open criticism of the government though the forums are moderated, and anyone can post from an Internet café. The forums of news portals such as U.S.-based The Bhutan Times (unrelated to the Bhutan Times newspaper) are much less moderated. The website was temporarily blocked by BICMA, Bhutan's media regulatory body, in 2007. Government officials said forum discussions on bhutantimes.com were too critical of Minister Sangey Nidup, maternal uncle of the king. In August 2007, bhutantimes.com reported that the government lifted its block on service within the country.
BICMA's censorship pattern appears to reflect individual sensitivities of people who may have been discussed online.
Video game censorship
- Censorship in Bhutan at Wikipedia
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