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Are the media aligned to political parties?

By Sangay Rabten

Media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy. The fourth pillar ensures that all people even living in far off areas of the counยญtry are informed whatโ€™s hapยญpening in the country. Meยญdia ensure transparency in the working of all the other systems.

Over the years, Media in Bhutan have become more active. Beside Bhutan Broadcasting Service and Kuensel Corporation Ltd, being the national news proยญviders, there are few other print media and private raยญdios. These media houses make the masses aware of various social, political and economical activities around us. It is like mirror which shows the bare truth and harsh realities of life.

All journalists should folยญlow code of ethics and mainยญtain ABCD (Accuracy, Balยญance, Credibility and Depth) of journalism. However, it seems there is broad conยญsensus that media houses in Bhutan are politically biased. It seems that some political party uses media house as their platform to promote their agenda.

Bhutan Broadcasting Serviceโ€™s Managing Direcยญtor, Tshering Wangchuk said that different people will have different views. He said, โ€œMedia are regularly checked and updated. As of now, I find all media houses are fair and not politically biased.โ€

Former editor of Kuensel, Ugyen Penjor said media plays an important role in elections and are answerยญable to the public for their action. โ€œI feel some newspaยญpers are aligned to political parties. This you can judge from the coverage,โ€ he said. โ€œIf one paper dedicates six pages out of 12 to a particuยญlar party and the rest six divided among other parยญties, international and local news, where is the fairness,โ€ he said. โ€œThe action of some media could lead to losing credibility of all media.โ€

The editor of The Bhutaยญnese, Tenzing Lamsang said โ€œItโ€™s the importance of rightยญness but not the balance.โ€ He said that political parties expect to be treated equally but it cannot be substantiated with false equivalences.

Editor of The Journalยญist Rinchen Dorji said, โ€œWe donโ€™t know about others but we are not. We do not serve government; we serve the state. Politicians and people tag media houses for beยญing politically biased. It is because of the news that we cover. But one party has nothing to write about, and if there is another where we find a lot to write about, people say we support. If we write a story bringing out corruption case of a party; we are termed as supporter of other parties. It is the thought process of people which is biased but not the media.โ€

President of Peopleโ€™s Democratic Party, Dasho Tshering Tobgay said, โ€œAs per the law, media houses are not allowed to be biased. However, there are chances of seeming, that medias are biased by some reporters.โ€ He shared the view that beยญcause of some reporterโ€™s like towards the manifesto of particular party, there could be chances of biasness as we are not enlightened but in over all, its good now.

President of Druk Phuenยญsum Tshogpa, (Dr.) Pema Gyamtsho said, โ€œApart from one or two main stream medias, most of the media houses are balanced.โ€™โ€™

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpaโ€™s President, (Dr.) Lotey Tsherยญing said, โ€œBesides critical analysis and critical reportยญing is appreciated, some meยญdia reporters are biased but not as a whole.โ€ He added that some politicians may politicize and there is thin detection of biasness.

Meanwhile, readers or auยญdience have different views. Rigden Wangmo from Samยญtse said, โ€œIt seems that some media houses are politiยญcally biased.โ€ Lhatu (name changed) said that some mainstream media do faยญvour some political parties. โ€œMedia being politically biยญased is not a good precedent as a watch-dog. It should support all equally as its is the most important ethics of media.โ€


Media Arbitrator, Dr Chador Wangdi said that they monitor the media regยญularly and that so far there has been no issue of media houses being politically biยญased. Head of the Election Department, Sonam Tobgยญyal said that till now there wasnโ€™t any case of political biased media, though there was a case during the Naยญtional Council election. He said, โ€œMedia should take responsibility to promote inยญstitution of democracy and understand that its indepenยญdent institution.โ€ He also added that in case if there is issue of political biasness in media houses, Election Commission of Bhutan have mechanism to deal with it.

While Bhutan Kuen-nyam Party did not respond to our call.


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