Response to MoIC Minister and Cabinet to be armed with more powers over the Press
This is very bad news for Press Freedom in Bhutan. ACC, RAA, ECB and etc are important as constitutional bodies but the most important institution of all is a Free Press.
In the last few years the Press has done us proud and also served the nation by pointing out the various flaws in the system and have all played important roles in making these systems and hence our lives better. The Press more than even the ACC had highlighted the scourge of corruption and fought a brave battle against it even against the high and mighty.
If there is on major reason why we as ordinary citizens are not molested and harassed by the powerful is because of the fear of ‘what the media will print’.
Unfortunately and very disappointingly a government and a PM that proclaimed the Freedom of the Press from the rooftops is now engaged in both overt and covert attempts to sabotage the Bhutanese media.
First it was cutting off advertisement to The Bhutanese and now it has come to coming up with laws to limit Press Freedom.
Ultimately the ordinary citizens should fight for Press Freedom as it is our right this is being sabotaged and taken away by the government.
It is also in this light that I agree with this papers previous Editorial that from Monarchy we are not headed into a democracy but a dictatorship or autocracy of some old ministers.
The government should remember that like in 2008 the Bhutanese public are not fools and we will have a response ready and waiting.
This is a dangerous trend. Due to interference from the Minister of MoIC, even BBS had to answer to the parliament regarding MSO (Multi Service Operators) which was expected to give returns return after three to five years. Initial investment was already done. Suddenly Lyonpo threw his weight to stop that which caused millions of loses to the corporation as well as the government. Even the Labour Minister wrote not to shoot it down but he refused. His inner aim was to keep BBS ever indebted to the government by accepting funds.Then there was private newspapers being controlled. But it doesn’t matter because Lyonpo always overrides BICMA.