Media infringement reflected, editor and reporters walk out BT

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Oct 23: Citing interference by the management, the editor and the half of the entire reporters of the Bhutan’s first private newspaper, ‘Bhutan Times’ (BT) tendered resignation yesterday.  

The resignation signed jointly by the editor Gopilal Acharya, the chief reporter and five other reporters was turned into the management, publicizing the notice into effect immediately as dated.  

The resignation letter seems clear enough to reveal the management’s persistent anti-ethical pressure to screw-up the journalists’ pens and mouth piece the public media for the interest of an individual or a limited group.  

Acharya, in his resignation said that to protect the independent journalism in Bhutan and keep up the professional values and principals of journalists primarily caused him and his newsroom staff to end up resigning.  

Wangcha Sangey, the CEO and newly appointed chairman of BT alleged the resigning staff to have been plotting the conspiracy to bankrupt the company. He further said that the BT has no alternative to comply with their decision as they themselves terminated their three years old trained services wherefrom they earned their livelihood.  

“I requested them that the freedom of speech being very important, you can even slur the ministry if it’s wrong, but not Bhutan as a nation. We shouldn’t be prompting personal agenda”, said Sangey.  

He also disclosed the written commitment given by the reporters to work towards accomplishing the company’s goal following a management-editorial meeting that week. Responding a reporter’s question on the probable court case follow up, the CEO stated that he would not choose to waste his time dwelling on the legitimacies.

  Needup Zangpo, the editor of “The Bhutan Observer” affirmed the certainty of the Bhutanese media scenario being crippled with the walk-off of these journalists. He doubted on the possibilities of the following issue being published. Expressing his obligation to the readers Sangey assured to bring out the Sunday issue as scheduled.  

Just over a couple of weeks ago, BT had proclaimed a loss of Nu.(Bhutanese Currency) 5.39 million, causing to endure a change in its management system. Its first issue published on April 30, 2006, BT is the first and the only public limited private media in Bhutan.

 

  

8 COMMENTS

  1. Media in Bhutan was not free in the past, is not free at present and will not be free in future unless the King’s democracy is overthrown by the people’s democracy.
    So called a great king of all times, to get rid of international pressure, denounce his power leading to the birth of cosmetic democracy, complimented by establishment of two private newspapers Bhutan Times and Bhutan Observer in 2006. However to operate these private newspapers King had handpicked the selected individuals to ensure nothing shall be printed against their interest. Consequently these newspapers started publication as he wants not as it happens. Whole drama of democracy and privatization of media has to be looked through the broader prospective.
    Indeed two private newspapers failed to meet the people’s expectation due to Lack of credible news in their publication and lose faith among the literate group who comprises the main consumer of the newspapers. Hence it is not unnatural to suffer loss by the private newspapers. Private media cannot flourish without the free flow of information and is likely to collapse in the course of their journey.
    Gopilal Acharya has rightly said that the journalism in Bhutan could not live to the expectation of values and principals due to continuous interference by the management, but the management cannot help out because they are controlled by the bureaucracy. Resignation by group of reporters is the reflection of freedom of press in Bhutan. But those reporters are likely to be term as anti nationals.

    Until the true democracy is established and media remain independent from the grip of bureaucracy I think “KUENSEL”, the only government mouth piece will better serve the interest of the present government.

  2. common man, in every country, some sorts of crisis happens. Bhutan is no different. i know Bhutan doesn’t have complete free press but you cannot put your refugee agenda in comment just like you always do in your nepal-based odd papers and sluring every effort and criticising monarch just because you are doomed due to your ancestors fault.

    By the way, name me a kingdom in world where people didn’t have to fight for democracy? i will name you countries in the world who fought for democracy. Free press is continued process not overnight change to sweep off all efforts of past.

    As for journalists in BT, it is only for them to take moral responsibility in interest of ethics of journalism but are also responsible to run paper without loss. afterall management is not only doing social service but business too.

  3. Well said Dorji,
    I agree with you. People donot understand that things have changed. They have left Bhutan for more than 18 years and even the small plant that they planted at their backyard has now fully grown to a big tree.

    Regarding BT let the journos decide what is an appropriate things to do. That will determine the quality of journalism(some aspect) in Bhutan.