The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
Click over the map to know the differences

Monday, July 3, 2006


Two new private newspapers, Bhutan Times and Bhutan Observer will begin publication by April this year, according to an announcement from the information and communication ministry.The Bhutan Times will be published by Bhutan Media Services (BMS), a private media service firm based in Thimphu and the Bhutan Observer will be published by KMT printing press based in Phuentsholing.Bhutan Times will be circulated on Sundays and Bhutan Observer on Fridays.Bhutan Observer will publish their newspaper both in English and Dzongkha and Bhutan Times will publish in English only.However, within a year from its launch, Bhutan Times will also have to publish in Dzongkha, said an official from the ministry of information and communication.A selection committee formed under the ministry selected the two private firms after going through about 10 variables including professional competency, public service agreement, editorial independence from ownership, frequency of publishing, coverage density plan, and diversity of content among others.Speaking to Kuensel the information and communication minister, Lyonpo Leki Dorji, said that the private newspapers will be solely owned by Bhutanese and published in Bhutan."They are free enterprises and there is no government commitment or subsidies," Lyonpo Leki Dorji told Kuensel."The two private newspapers will encourage competition among newspaper companies, and like in all other services, customers will benefit from better services and value," he said."Newspapers will play an important role once the draft Constitution is endorsed in 2008," he said, adding that the media was indispensable in educating and informing people after the change in the political system. "Private newspapers are encouraged to improve coverage," said Lyonpo Leki Dorji.However, Bhutan has not adopted any media acts that can monitor and coordinate media in the country. A draft has been asked to prepare which is expected to be submitted to the forthcoming National Assembly session in June for endorsement.A weekly paper named Bhutan Times was published in Nepal by Sagar Rai of Sanichare camp in Nepal four years ago but was closed due to financial difficulties. Bhutan Observer was published by People's Forum For Human Rights and Development led by S K Pradhan. Bhutan Media Society (BMS) publishes monthly english newspaper in exile named The Bhutan Reporter.


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