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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

Bhutan Media Dialogue


December 20 & 21, 2010
A Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy Programme

www.bhutancmd.org.bt

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

Table of Contents Page


1.Background 3
2.Aims 3
3.Impact/Results 4
4.Lessons Learned 4
5.Group Recommendations 5

Annexe I
Evaluation 7
Annexe II
List of participants 15
Annexe III
Programme details 18

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

Bhutan Media Dialogue


December 20, 21st, Thimphu, Bhutan

Background
After the first democratic elections Bhutan is witnessing a small explosion in the number
of media houses especially in the print media. But the question remains, are media doing
enough to cater to the interests of the people? Are they functioning as the “watchdog” by
prompting the government and other public service sector to be accountable and
transparent?

For the vision of a unique Bhutanese democracy to become a reality the Bhutanese
citizenry must not just elect a government but strengthen governance – governance that
involves all sections of society. This can only be achieved through healthy discourse
which is an essence of democracy.

The Bhutanese media are key players in the evolution of the new Bhutanese polity. The
media must provide the public space and be the forum for public debate.

To discuss some of these key questions the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy
hosted its first Bhutan media dialogue where journalists, media managers, and people
from a cross section of society converged to focus on the media. The event was held on
Monday, December 20 with 38 participants, and Tuesday December 21 with 50
participants.

On Tues, 21st December, the Dialogue continued with a presentation and discussion on
“Media as the 4th Estate”. Also present were His Excellency the Prime Minister, Jigmi Y.
Thinley. The Minister for Information and Communications, Lyonpo Nandalal Rai,
Minister of Works and Human Settlement, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, and the Minister of
Education, Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyel also attended the talk.

Aims

 Bring the media and a cross-section of society together for discourse and
exchange of ideas to develop the media in Bhutan.
 Establish an understanding on the role of media, its identity and responsibilities.
 Find how media can fulfill Bhutan‟s unique vision for human development.
 To discuss and understand the concept of Media as the 4th Estate in a Bhutanese
perspective.

The speakers for the dialogue were:


 Kavi Chongkittavorn, Assistant Group Editor, Nation Multimedia Group,
Thailand.
 Cherian George, Faculty member, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and
Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

Participants present included:


 Editors, journalists, media professionals from print, radio and television media.
 Government officials from various ministries and sectors.
 Members of the civil society, constitutional agencies and private sector.

Impact/Results

 As the first ever dialogue on media, the event highlighted the importance of the
media experiment in Bhutan – attempting to balance freedom and responsibility.
 Participants, both journalists and stakeholders, realised the role that journalism
plays in a new democracy and the need for an independent and responsible media.
 The discussions emphasised the important responsibility of all stakeholders, and
not just the media itself, to create a new media culture, one that will contribute to
the development of a good society.
 Provided opportunity for journalists and members of a cross-section of society to
engage in discussion and to share feedback
 Journalists discussed the current state of journalism in Bhutan and ways to
improve journalism standards in the country.
 Rekindled an awareness of the importance of journalism in a new democracy and
the need for journalism today to build credibility and accountability.
 Recognised the need for the media to be more rural sensitive and to do more
reporting outside Thimphu.
 Provided non-journalists with a deeper awareness of the challenges of journalism
and why quality journalism matters for Bhutan.
 Established the understanding of media as the fourth estate or fourth branch of
governance to mean independent, accountable media that serves the people of
Bhutan.
 Made recommendations on maximising the credibility and impact of journalism in
Bhutan.

Lessons Learned

 Organise more talks and discussions in future.


 Involve more stakeholders, particularly members of the parliament and
bureaucrats.
 Need to extend the dialogue for a longer period of time.
 Encourage presentations from various media houses.
 Involve more high level government and corporate officials in the discussion.
 Involve more people from CSOs, Private sector, Constitutional agencies and
media houses.
 More engagement of representatives from policy makers would do more good.
 Involve youth in these kinds of forums and dialogue.

Group discussion and recommendations

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

Group 1: What is the social responsibility of the media?

1. Treating your readers/audience as citizens/human beings rather than consumers.


2. Having the Right to Information act so that the public is empowered right from
the grass root level. E.g., a villager getting information on Gewog budget.
3. Creating a public platform and encouraging the inclusion of the common
man/woman‟s voice in our news coverage
4. Balanced coverage as in avoiding just „Thimphu News‟ and going to the rural
areas. Here, the govt. could provide help.
5. Write or cover more news/articles on social problem like drugs, alcohol, etc. but
avoid stereotyping. Reports should entail good research and should be coherent to
the average reader. Also cover inspirational stories.
6. Neutral and non-biased news coverage. The powerful should also be held
accountable instead of just the common man.
7. Alert society to existing and eminent problems. E.g. Corruption.
8. Media should avoid sensationalism, inaccuracy and generally uphold media
ethics. E.g. anonymous sources as opinion.
9. Educational mandate. Explain laws, acts, systems and people involved in
decisions that affect the public.
10. Avoid polarisation, regionalism, cultivated religion differences, racism, and
promote social harmony and unity.

Group 2: To whom should the media be responsible? And whom should media serve?

1. Serve the people by publishing what they need


2. Responsibility to newsmakers for accuracy
3. Internal dynamics: Publishers need to frame a code of ethics, editorial guidelines
and policies and publicise it to the public so that it in the long run it benefits the
paper by improving its credibility.
External integrity: Media has to be accountable to their sources or the person
giving the information by reporting accurately and concisely.

Group 3: How should the media give the people voice?


Voices: 1. Bringing out people‟s issues
2. Promoting debate/dialogue
Who: Unheard voices – youth, women, farmers, not mafia
What: Agree that media is not giving enough voice to people – media, print, urban-
centered

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

2. No equitable coverage, lack of value for information, people shy/afraid due to


restrictions
Why:
1. Affordability
2. Platform not fully used
3. Participation low
4. Not enough attention to Dzongkha
5. Distrust of media

How and what should be done?

1. It should be innovative, use advanced technology, community as stringers/contact


points to reach out
2. People from all sections of society, civil servants, to use the platform to express
freely, media literacy to be stepped up
3. Reaching out to the grassroots to build confidence and encourage participation
4. Government, media and society must find ways to subsidise the use of Dzongkha
in the media
5. A journalist should build credibility, trust, and confidence by being accurate,
covering people‟s issues in news, and by bringing news from the grassroots
communities.

Group 4: What would a GNH media be like?

1. It should guided by the highest of ethics and principles


2. It should be participatory/inclusive and accessible to the people
3. It should be responsive to the call of democracy by promoting equity, justice, and
transparency.
4. Must play a bigger educational role, focusing on social sectors
5. GNH media needs RTI
6. GNH media must explore technologies; ham radio, for self-expression and
community building
7. Must create a local social forum for exchange of ideas and public debate.

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

Annexe I
Evaluation: Day 1
Bhutan Media Dialogue, 20th December
Total number of people who took the evaluation: 21
1. The overall Quality of the dialogue (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the lowest and 5 the
highest rating)
5 (Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)
better)
11=52.3% 8=38% 2=9.5% 0=0% 0=0%

Media, Governance and Society


2. Workshop presentation, Kavi Chongkittavorn:
5 (Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)
better)
12=57.1% 9=42.8% 0=0% 0=0% 0=0%

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

3. Workshop presentation, Cherian George:


5 (Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)
better)
13=61.9% 8=38% 0=0% 0=0% 0=0%

4. Commentators – Reflection on presentation:


5 (Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)
better)
7=33.3% 13=61.9% 3=14.2% 0=0% 0=0%

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5. Remarks, Dasho Kinley Dorji, Secretary, Ministry of Information and


Communication
5 (Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)
better)
7=33.3% 11=52.3% 3=14.2% 0=0% 0=0%

6. Importance and usefulness of this dialogue (on a scale of 1-5)


5 4 3 2 1
10=47.6% 10=47.6% 1=4.7% 0=0% 0=0%

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

7. What was the most important aspect of this workshop?


1. Reflecting on the importance and effect of the media.
2. Redefining the role of media as an issue to the ever changing consumer and
readership aspects in a new democratic society.
3. Media trying its best to solve the problem of less participation from the public and
getting the views and voices of the public.
4. Getting local media together to talk about issues that affect all of us.
5. Learning each other‟s experiences and best practices.
6. Understanding the role of media and media culture in Bhutan.
7. Learning and knowing the stakeholders individually and collectively.
8. Insight of media in the new political scenario.
9. Developing media ethics and raising standard of media.
10. Media learning from its own mistakes rather than outside.
11. Understanding radio rights in Bhutan.
12. Understanding what is missing in the Bhutanese media and what can be done.
13. Learning from the experience of fellow colleagues, non media people and most
importantly eminent professionals with international experience.
14. Issues confronting media.
15. What it means to be a part of media fraternity in Bhutan and what the individual and
collective responsibilities are.
16. Values and ethics of a journalist, challenges and influences.

8. What suggestions do you have to improve such interactions?


1. Organise more group work and activities.
2. Get more stakeholders particularly members of the parliament and bureaucrats.
3. Extend the dialogue for a longer period of time.
4. More input from the news makers (People who make the news) would serve as a
platform for media practitioners to receive feedback.
5. Presentation from various media houses.
6. Involve high level government and corporate officials in the discussion.
7. Involve more people from CSOs, Private sectors, Constitutional agencies and media
houses.
8. More engagement of representatives from policy makers would do more good.
9. Involve youth in these kinds of forums and dialogue.

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

What issues on media/ democracy would you like to know more about?
1. Promoting democratic and GNH principles through the use of corporate social
responsibility factor in the media
2. Address the needs of people in a democratic world through inception of consumer
oriented media activities
3. Transparency of media
4. Balance between public service and commercial media and interests.
5. Media and GNH
6. Media‟s role in democratic development
7. Policies and how they are implemented
8. How can we increase professionalism in Bhutan?
9. How can we promote media literacy and have quality control in media content?
10. Media literacy
11. Public participation in media and democracy
12. Right to Information
13. How do we strengthen media to further the principles of democracy and encourage
people‟s participation?
14. Media immunity and protection
15. What are the aspects we need to look into to come up with a unique culture and value
centered journalism.

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

Evaluation: Day 2
Media as the 4th Estate, 21st December, 2010
Number of people who took the evaluation: 20
1. How important and useful would you rate this morning’s session? (0n a scale of 1-
5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest)
5(Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)
better)
6=30% 13=65% 1=5% 0=0% 0=0%

2. How would you rate the presentations?


I. Presentation, Kavi Chongkittavorn:

5(Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)


better)
15=75% 5=25% 0=0% 0=0% 0=0%

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

II. Presentation, Cherian George:

5(Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)


better)
13=65% 7=35% 0=0% 0=0% 0=0%

3. Question and Answer Session:


5(Excellent) 4(Good) 3(Average) 2(Could do 1(Poor)
better)
8=40% 10=50% 2=10% 0=0% 0=0%

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

4. Any Comments / suggestions for future media dialogues?


1. Engage representatives from policy makers.
2. Invite more journalists from the media houses.
3. Public opinion VS Public Interest.
4. Involvement of youth (students) and people from all walks of life.
5. Workshops and dialogues like these should be organised for longer
duration.
6. Understanding how important a role media plays in a common man‟s life
so that in this way media can formulate an action plan that best suits the
needs of the Bhutanese society.

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Annexe II
List of participants Day 1

1 Name Organisation
2 Needrup Zangpo Bhutan Observer
3 Gopilal Acharya RAH
4 Pelden Choeda RCSC
5 Neten Chhetri RIM
6 Pema Choden BBS
7 Kinchho Tshering Kuzoo FM
8 Pelden Wangmo Judiciary
9 Kaysang W. Samdup Department of Revenue &
Customs
10 Kunga T. Dorji Radio Valley/ Drukpa
11 Kesang Jamtsho ACC
12 Nim Dorji ECB
13 Karma Wangchuk Tarayana
14 Sherpem Sherpa BBS
15 Karma Lhamo NA
16 Kaka Tshering Bhutan Times
17 Mark Mancall REC
18 Dasho Kinley Dorji MoIC
19 Dasho Pema Thinley RUB
20 Namgay Zam BBSC
21 Anju Chhetri Sherubtse college
22 Dema Lhamo ACC
23 Ugyen Tenzin Bhutan Today
24 Jigme Thinley BBS
25 Mindu Dorji Bhutan Observer
26 Sonam Tshewang LMSS
27 Tashi Dorji Business Bhutan
28 Tenzing Lamsang Business Bhutan
29 Kaka Tshering BBS
30 Sonam Pelden Bhutan Observer
31 Thinley Dorji Kuensel
32 Lekey Dorji LD & Associates
33 Phuntsho Kuensel
34 Kinley Tshering Wedia
35 Sonam Tashi OAG
36 Ugyen Dorji Bhutan Today
37 Tshering Wangmo DoIM
38 Siok Sian Pek-Dorji BCMD
39 Jigme Choden BCMD
40 Sonam Zangmo BCMD
41 Chewang Tobgay BCMD

* 26 Males and 15 Females.

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List of participants Day 2

1 Name Organisation
2 Needrup Zangpo Bhutan Observer
3 Gopilal Acharya RAH
4 Pelden Choeda RCSC
5 Neten Chhetri RIM
6 Pema Choden BBS
7 Kinchho Tshering Kuzoo FM
8 Pelden Wangmo Judiciary
9 Kaysang W. Samdup Department of Revenue &
Customs
10 Kunga T. Dorji Radio Valley/ Drukpa
11 Kesang Jamtsho ACC
12 Nim Dorji ECB
13 Karma Wangchuk Tarayana
14 Sherpem Sherpa BBS
15 Karma Lhamo NA
16 Kaka Tshering Bhutan Times
17 Mark Mancall REC
18 Dasho Kinley Dorji MoIC
19 Dasho Pema Thinley RUB
20 Namgay Zam BBSC
21 Anju Chhetri Sherubtse college
22 Dema Lhamo ACC
23 Ugyen Tenzin Bhutan Today
24 Jigme Thinley BBS
25 Mindu Dorji Bhutan Observer
26 Sonam Tshewang LMSS
27 Tashi Dorji Business Bhutan
28 Tenzing Lamsang Business Bhutan
29 Kaka Tshering BBS
30 Sonam Pelden Bhutan Observer
31 Thinley Dorji Kuensel
32 Lekey Dorji LD & Associates
33 Phuntsho Kuensel
34 Kinley Tshering Wedia
35 Sonam Tashi OAG
36 Ugyen Dorji Bhutan Today
37 Tshering Wangmo DoIM
38 Yeshey Nidup BBS
39 Tashi Choden CBS
40 Karma Nima Kuensel
41 Thinley Namgyel Kuensel
42 Phuntsho Namgyel Cabinet Secretariat
43 Sammdu Chetri PMO

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

44 Phuntsho Choden PMO


45 Namkhai Norbu Bhutan Times
46 Major Tshewang Rinzin RBP
47 Kesang Dema Kuensel
48 Pem Lama Bhutan Foundation
49 Tshering Denka Bhutan Foundation
50 Siok Sian Pek-Dorji BCMD
51 Sonam Zangmo BCMD
52 Jigme Choden BCMD
53 Chewang Tobgay BCMD

* 34 Males and 19 Females.

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Annexe III
Programme for the Dialogue, Day 1

Time Activity Remarks/Presenter


9:00 – 9:15 Registration/arrival
9:15 – 09:20 Welcome & overview of day‟s programme BCMD Director
09:20 – 09:25 Opening remarks
09:25 – 10:25 Media, Governance and Society Cherian George and Kavi
Chongkittavorn
10:25– 10:55 Commentators – Reflection on presentation Kunga T. Dorji, Gopilal
10:55 – 11:15 Tea Break
11:15 – 12:15 Remarks Secretary , Ministry of
Information and Communication
Q & A followed by Conversation
12:15 – 01:15 Lunch
1:15– 3:15 Break into group discussion 4 groups
03:15 – 03:30 Tea Served during discussion
03:30 – 4:00 Report to plenary
4.00 – 4.20 Closing remarks
4:20 – 4:30 Evaluation/ Vote of thanks and closing

Programme for day 2 – Tues. Dec.21st, 2010

Groups:
Group 1: What is the social responsibility of the media?

Group 2: To whom should media be responsible? Who should media serve?

Group 3: How should media give people voice? How and what should be done?

Group 4: How would a GNH Media be like?

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Bhutan Media Dialogue 2010

Programme for the talk, Day 2

Time Activity Remarks/Presenter

10:00 Arrival

10:00 – 10:05 Welcome BCMD

10:05 – 10:35 Media as the 4th Estate Speaker 1 Kavi Chongkittavorn

10:35 – 11:05 Media as the 4th Estate Speaker 2 Cherian George

11:05 – 11:30 Q & A and discussion

11:30 – 11: 35 Closing remarks

11:35 -12:00 Tea / refreshments

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Prime Minister sharing views on media as the fourth estate.

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