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Our fragile and fast fading Print Media


Says it all
Finally BBS featured a story on dying Bhutanese print (private) media the other day. The report said it was due to heavy decrease in revenues owing to decrease in government sponsored advertisements. And it was pointed out that some media firms are planning to layoff their people while others I am told have not paid their employees for sometime now. A media firm that I know has not yet paid their employees December 2012’s salary. It is disturbing.

On one hand we keep saying that we need a vibrant media for our democracy to function but then a few years into our democracy, we are back to square one. With the death of private newspapers we will only have some state backed media that will run the shows.

The next round of elections is around the corner and our media show no sign of improvement. I was told of mass exodus of senior and experienced reporters and editors from private papers. Authorities blame on the number of papers. Maybe the way we issued licenses to all Dorji, Dawa and Duba was flawed. People wanted to run papers because they felt that’s where the money was. Now many are lamenting. We have more than 10 newspapers in the country! That’s a big number for a small country! It is interesting though why the government does not allow people to start even one private TV channel! It is long overdue! What are we waiting for? 

And as a follow up action – this is what I think private print media should do: form a big group and come up with a paper instead. Yes, I am suggesting collaboration and not competition. Some will laugh at my suggestion. But that’s okay! This way I think they can compete with the nation’s daily. Because right now apparently it seems there are only two papers in the country – Kuensel and private newspapers and accordingly the two receive the equal share of ads.

Collaboration will not create a condition for downsizing. Otherwise at this rate soon many people will lose their livelihoods or at the same time media firms will lose good people to other sectors!

Last time around we accorded a high priority to media. Don’t we need a similar media engagement in the coming elections? Let’s promote a vibrant democracy. Let’s save our media from the clutches of their "death". And this time let's mean it too! 

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