The International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned that a fine of Ngultrum 18,000 (about US$370) levied on the Bhutan
Broadcasting Service Corporation (BBSC) is contrary to the spirit of media
freedom and may lead to undue restraints on the exercise of free speech in
According to reports received by the IFJ,
the country’s regulatory body, the
Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority (BICMA),
found that a panel discussion aired by the broadcaster on the quality of a
pre-paid taxi service was contrary to the media code of conduct in force.
Some of the speakers invited to the program allegedly attacked officials
Government. There was no official representative on the program to speak on
behalf of the Government.
The BBSC management has clarified that a representative of the Road
Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) was invited to participate in the program, but left shortly after making his initial
“The IFJ appeals to Bhutan’s
regulatory authority to waive the fine imposed on the BBSC since it sets a bad
precedent in terms of the media’s role as a watchdog on the conduct of
governmental authorities,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
goes through a significant transition to popular democracy, it is essential that a clear signal is sent that
media freedom and the public’s right to free speech will be protected.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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