Freedom of Speech Under Attack?

The popular Facebook page, Druk News and Forums (earlier Bhutanese News and Forums) that has over 200,000 followers, has gone offline ever since the police identified one of its administrators while investigating Penjore’s defamation case, and mostly likely he/she would be booked for sedition. This has caused outrage among social media users, who believe the government is on a witch hunt, to crack down on its critics.
While defaming any individual or institution with fabricated or falsified information should be discouraged and even stopped, however, the way Penjore’s case was handled by OAG and the Police, it has sent a mixed signal to the people, who strongly feel the government is using fear and intimidation to squash their freedom of speech and expression.  
It became more apparent when an entire legal arm of the government was used to arbitrarily arrest and investigate Penjore for defamation, keeping him locked up for 16 days. It was reported that eight prosecutors from OAG were involved in investigating the matter, not to mention the police and the forensic team who went through his phone and social media account, just to fix one person, who even if convicted can pay in lieu of his prison sentence.
Many believe the OAG is making an example out of him so that future critics would be thoroughly dissuaded. While, it could be an effective deterrent, especially against those trying to malign the good reputation of individuals and institutions, and those attacking the unity, security and sovereignty of the country, it could also discourage constructive criticism, which is an important hallmark of a democratic society. It could also give rise to a culture of intolerance, where the government could misuse the state machineries to go after people who would oppose or criticize their governance.        
Hence, every day we see myriad of posts on the social media, many uploaded by users who choose to hide under the veil of anonymity for this very reason. While advocacy on proper/right use of social media would go a long way in ending this trend of anonymity, prosecuting ordinary citizen for criticizing government officials and institutions would send more and more social media users underground.
Instead of diverting our limited resources to prosecute an individual for his write ups on social media, which the people would see as a retribution prompted by personal vendetta, we should be using it to address real crimes taking place in our country, a case in point the rape of a 8 year old child in Samtse, which again reminds us of our failure to apprehend the child rapist and murderer from Thimphu and Paro who is still at large and is not done killing.