Govt Grants Subsidy To Private Bhutanese Newspapers

The Cabinet has approved to support 50 per cent of the printing cost to a maximum of 1,000 copies a month for a period of two years.

Journalist Association of Bhutan (Source: Facebook/jabbhutan)

 

By Tshering Palden | Kuensel

 

The Cabinet’s decision to introduce a tendering system for advertisements in privately owned newspapers have not been finalised, an Information and Communications Ministry (MoIC) official said.

The idea was one of the measures the Cabinet raised during a meeting on January 9 to support private newspapers following the five-point petition the Media Association of Bhutan and Journalists Association of Bhutan submitted last year.

Petition for advertisements for private media houses

The media association had petitioned to the Cabinet that advertisements should be granted to at least to four more private media houses in addition to what is currently given to BBS and Kuensel. 

The government directed the MoIC to look at the possibility of introducing a tender system for awarding advertisements to private newspapers with a set of criteria to be fulfilled such as circulation, reach, pricing and other factors.

“Alternatively, the MoIC should work at enabling a system of collecting the prices from media houses and giving it to agencies so that they can opt for the media houses that they prefer,” the directive stated.

The Cabinet secretary, Kinzang Wangdi conveyed the directives through a letter to the MoIC secretary on February 26 this year.

The Department of Information and Media (DoIM) director, Rinchen Dorji said that the ministry designed a tendering system as per the procurement rules.

“We held consultation meetings with the private media houses but most of them chose not to opt for this system,” he said.

“If that system was adopted, the advertisement situation could be even worse for the private media.”

Criteria of the tendering system

The tendering system had set criteria such as the number of copies circulated and reach of the newspaper.

“As directed, we also collected information on the advertisement rates from the media houses and shared it with all the ministries,” Rinchen Dorji said, adding that it was up to the ministries to decide.

In the 2016 draft advertisement policy, section 3.5 states that the government agencies shall place advertisements or purchase advertising space or time in an appropriate medium that ensures the reach of the government messages to the audience that the advertisement seeks to inform.

“Government advertisements are not intended in any way to be a form of financial subsidy to any particular media,” the policy states.

Points mentioned in the petition

The other four points in the petition requested soft loans, printing subsidy, increase in government grants to private media, seed fund request for professional development, the sustainability of the JAB and the establishment of a press club.

The Cabinet has approved to support 50 percent of the printing cost to a maximum of 1,000 copies a month for a period of two years.

The subsidy amounts to Nu 2.725 million (M) annually. The finance ministry is directed to instruct the Bhutan Media Foundation to decide on the printing house.

On April 5, the MoIC secretary, Dasho Karma W Penjor wrote to the finance secretary to operationalise the printing subsidy.

The government has also approved to provide an additional Nu 2M annually in the 12th Plan under the budget head ‘Support to media enterprise’ to be used for capacity and content development. The Cabinet directed the MoIC to use the fund prudently.

The MoIC has also been asked to discuss with the labour ministry whether some trainings for journalists could be provided. The ministry is also directed to see if the government has provided budget for the establishment of a press club.

“An amount of Nu 0.5M would be provided only if the government has not provided any sum to establish a Press Club earlier,” the Cabinet secretary’s letter said.

The government, however did not approve the request to provide soft loans to private media houses.

“It was ascertained by the Ministry of Finance that media houses do not qualify for a loan from the Rural Enterprise Development Corporation Ltd,” stated the Cabinet secretary’s letter to the MoIC secretary conveying the government’s decision.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the new Bhutan Times.

 


Related Posts

Bhutanese Journal of Agriculture Launched

The journal is published by the Agriculture Research and Extension Division of the Department of Agriculture and will be...

Mar 18, 2018 22:31

Impact of Social Media in Bhutan

Over the years, with the rapid growth and usage of social media in Bhutan, its interactive features and no holds barred...

Apr 03, 2018 19:25

Media Students Intern in Media Houses

“The media students need more experience in their field as compared to the students from other courses,” said Anju...

Jan 31, 2018 06:58

Rural Bhutan Grapples with the Misuse of Social Media

While the penetration of social media has enhanced communication and transformed the information sharing culture in...

Oct 21, 2017 14:59

Techstars Startup Weekend Bhutan (Eco-Tourism): 54 Hours where...

The eventful weekend saw 130 keen people in attendance, of which 56 pitched ideas. This was the fifth time that such an...

Nov 29, 2017 08:46

Bhutan Achieved 93% Youth Literacy Rate

93 percent of the students attend public schools, but the proportion of students attending public school decreases at...

Jan 13, 2018 11:50

Latest

News

Japanese Language and Judo Centres to be Established in Bhutan

At the meeting with Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay in Tokyo, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe said that Japan would support the...

Apr 19, 2018 00:21

220 Youth to be Employed by the National Housing Development Corporation

The NHDCL has already announced 220 vacancies in different occupations through the ministry’s direct employment scheme (DES) available in...

Apr 13, 2018 21:50

Features

Govt Grants Subsidy To Private Bhutanese Newspapers

The Cabinet has approved to support 50 per cent of the printing cost to a maximum of 1,000 copies a month for a period of two years.

Apr 17, 2018 10:42

Bhutan Participates In The Global Money Week 2018

The theme of the Global Money Week 2018 is “money matters matter”, which aims to inculcate the importance making smart financial decisions...

Apr 15, 2018 16:15

Sports

Bhutan’s Pelden Dorji Wins the First Asian Enduro Series in Nepal

Bhutan’s Pelden Dorji, 35 won gold in the masters A-category title at the recent Asian Enduro series held in the Nagarkot hills of...

Apr 18, 2018 06:13

Paro College To Start Physical Education And Sports Coaching Degree

The degree programme is likely to start only by 2022.

Apr 14, 2018 13:38

Business

First Bhutanese Instant Noodles Hit Market

KP Noodles, manufactured by KP Foods in Chengmari, Samtse, has come up with noodles of three flavours – Hot Garlic Chicken, Spicy Chicken...

Apr 20, 2018 04:34

Demand for Bhutanese Honey Encourages Farmers To Take Up Bee-keeping

Bhutan’s organic honey is highly sought after for its fine quality.

Apr 16, 2018 00:31

Travel

Guidelines To Manage Bhutanese Heritage Sites

The guideline will identify the roles and responsibilities of cultural heritage professionals during response and recovery events as well as...

Apr 10, 2018 16:53

19 Tour Operators Apply for SDF Refund

Tour operators who have already taken groups in the six eastern dzongkhags after the SDF wavier came into effect from November 16 last year...

Mar 24, 2018 22:35

Lifestyle

Dhaari Nhaaba – A Movie Not to Be Missed

The veteran director, Kesang P. Jigme has used all the magic tricks in his bag again to weave a compelling narrative.

Apr 21, 2018 21:14

Mama's Dream - Bhutanese Clothing Line For Children

Mama’s Dream also manufactures its entire clothing items in Bhutan, hence it helps to create various employment opportunities.

Apr 16, 2018 21:50

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!