By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 21: The 16th Kashag in a statement published on Wednesday said that there would be official repercussions if anyone is found guilty of spreading or misusing false narratives about His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the social media or other platforms. The circular issued by the Kashag has affirmed to implement strict actions against those spreading misinformation and stirring unrest in the community.
The spokesperson of the exile Tibetan government, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration, Tenzin Lekshay told Tibet TV that this message has been put out to create more awareness regarding the few individuals who attempt to defame the Tibetan spiritual leader in the exile society. “Whoever is found guilty of using His Holiness’ name for one’s own benefit or otherwise would be dealt with severe action if needed. We’ve also said this before, and we are now only reiterating the decision to make the public cognizant of the matter,” the spokesperson further said.
The CTA President Penpa Tsering told the representatives from Offices of Tibet during the two-day meeting that any incident of misuse or defamation of Dalai Lama’s name must be brought to Kashag’s attention without any delay. “If there is any matter related to His Holiness’ name and legacy that the Gaden Phodrang (Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama) must know about, there are ways of communicating with the Office through respective secretaries of various departments,” Sikyong said in his virtual interaction with the representatives.
The letter further instructed Tibetans in the diaspora to never forget the unique characteristic of our society that has come to fruition because of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s life-long work. The strong-worded appeal has attracted both positive and negative responses from Tibetan netizens, where some approved the decision to act on misinformation and fake news while others have called the move counterproductive.
A Tibetan living in exile told Phayul, on the condition of anonymity, that such messaging seemed confusing since there are no reference points that explain such a response. “I read the letter, I don’t know who it is directed against but I think it is worrisome that our government has no qualms in openly issuing threats against those they deem as ‘criticizing’ His Holiness. The label is almost invariably used against those who hold different or opposite views from that of the government,” the observer remarked.