Gov­ern­ment an­nounced sup­port for in­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ism

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

Main­stream me­dia and the chal­lenges were still at the heart of dis­cus­sions. The gov­ern­ment wants to pro­mote and pro­tect free­dom and in­de­pen­dence of the me­dia with the in­sti­tu­tion of Me­dia Coun­cil in the 12th FYP.

Re­spond­ing to the Bartsham- Shong­phu con­stituency Pas­sang Dorji ques­tioned on the pos­si­ble in­ter­ven­tions of the gov­ern­ment to sus­tain the me­dia in the on­go­ing Na­tional As­sem­bly Ses­sion, min­is­ter for In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Karma Don­nen Wangdi ex­pressed con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to the me­dia.

To pro­mote and en­hance eth­i­cal and pro­fes­sional stan­dards amongst jour­nal­ists, Ly­onpo in­formed that the me­dia coun­cil would play a sig­nif­i­cant role in strength­en­ing the me­dia and pro­tect free­dom. He sub­mit­ted, “The im­por­tance of me­dia is known to ev­ery­one and me­dia is con­sid­ered as the fourth arm of the gov­ern­ment.”

The Me­dia Coun­cil, he sub­mit­ted, would play a sig­nif­i­cant role in strength­en­ing the me­dia and pro­tect free­dom. “We have me­dia act in place, but we do not have me­dia coun­cil to im­ple­ment it,” he sub­mit­ted. “The gov­ern­ment will ex­tend full sup­port to main­stream me­dia.”

A need for pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of main­stream news me­dia, the Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, Pas­sang Dorji, re­ported that the main­stream news or­ga­ni­za­tions are fac­ing chal­lenges in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial, hu­man re­source and mar­ket. “Me­dia play very im­por­tant role in the democ­racy and com­mu­ni­ties to in­form the pub­lic,” he sub­mit­ted. “It would be grate­ful if the gov­ern­ment could work on free­dom and in­de­pen­dence of the me­dia.”

Ly­onpo in­formed the House that the gov­ern­ment has sup­ported the me­dia house in terms of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, equipments and con­tent de­vel­op­ment.

He also in­formed the House that Nu 3mil­lion has been al­lo­cated for con­tent de­vel­op­ment grant for the fi­nan­cial year. He sub­mit­ted, “We are ready to re­lease soon once it is fi­nal­ized.”

Con­tent de­vel­op­ment grant stands for an in­de­pen­dent, qual­ity jour­nal­ism that con­trib­utes to de­bate, cov­er­age of ru­ral is­sues and re­gions that are mostly ne­glected by en­abling pub­lic in­ter­est jour­nal­ism that bet­ter in­forms the pub­lic.

Ly­onpo also in­formed some of the gov­ern­ment’s ini­tia­tives in 12th FYP. As he in­formed to the House, the pro­gram in­cludes 57 long term ex- coun­try train­ing in hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment 30 for diploma course and 225 short term cour­ses abroad.

He also in­formed that gov­ern­ment will pro­vide Nu 2.609 mil­lion for 50 per­cent of print­ing sub­sidy.

Ly­onpo Karma Don­nen Wangdi in­formed that the gov­ern­ment has sup­ported Nu 23.5mil­lion from 2011 to 2013 for the procum­bent of equip­ment, Dzongkha lan­guage soft­ware de­vel­op­ment, ca­pac­ity de­vel­op­ment grant, con­tent de­vel­op­ment grant, work­shop and study tours, and for an­nual jour­nal­ism award.

He also in­formed the House that the gov­ern­ment has also pro­vided about 20 short term and long term train­ing in In­dia, Aus­tralia and Eu­rope. “There are about 44 jour­nal­ists in the coun­try and the gov­ern­ment would pro­vide about 271 in­tern­ship pro­grams.”

For the Me­dia Plu­ral­ism Project, Swiss Agency for De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion ( SDC) pro­vided Nu 6mil­lion and United Na­tion Democ­racy Fund (UNDF) pro­vided Nu 8.7mil­lion to the Jour­nal­ists’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Bhutan ( JAB) and gov­ern­ment pro­vided Nu 300,000 for the for­ma­tion of JAB, these are some of the gov­ern­ment’s sup­port as re­ported by the min­is­ter.

MoiC Min­is­ter said that the gov­ern­ment has sup­ported the me­dia house in terms of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, equipments and con­tent de­vel­op­ment.

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