About the owner
Association of Press Freedom Activists (APFA) – Bhutan is an organization in exile established to work for a freedom of press and freedom of speech and expression in Bhutan. It comprises young and dynamic journalists and linguists carrying potentialities to open the floodgates of freedom of speech, expression, press and publicity. With the drafting of constitution of kingdom of Bhutan , APFA –Bhutan anticipates the freedom of press as envisaged in it. APFA – Bhutan is an independent organization. We believe that press is one of the major components to demonstrate the extent of democratization of a country. It also explains the extents of people’s participation in governance. We believe, it is must for a free and democratic society. Press also alerts government to comply on its responsibilities and obligations. That is why it has been very often referred to as the fourth state of a country.
Bhutan is a member country to the United Nations system since 1971 and is signatory to many of the conventions and declarations it passed. But implementation of international laws is yet to be seen in Bhutan. People are barred from enjoying their birth right as the bonafied citizens of the country. Bhutan agreed on Universal Declaration of Human Rights soon it became the member of the UN. But Article 19 of the declaration (specially stressed here) is yet to be implemented in the country. In the name of press and right to information of the Bhutanese people, a radio, a television and a weekly newspaper (Kuensel) exist whose contents are strictly censored by the government. They solely carry the voices of the government. The new private publications and FM radio stations have not done enough to protect the right of the people. Any one speaking against the government, king or the high profiled bureaucrats must face serious physical punishment in jails. A hundred of thousands people were evicted out of their homesteads while staging for the right to organization, speech and culture in 1990. Even then, a large section of the Bhutanese people feel the need of organization working for their right to speech and expression and freedom of the press in Bhutan.
Right to speech is one of the elements of human rights states must guarantee to its citizens. As such, to strengthen the aspiration of Bhutanese people for their right to speech and expression and right to information, AFPA-Bhutan was established on May 3, 2004 coinciding the International Press Freedom Day. APFA-Bhutan is a non-profit, apolitical, independent and social organization working especially for the right to speech of Bhutanese people, and establishment of freedom of the press and publicity in the country.
Since democratic values and people’s rights cannot be safeguarded in absence of independent media, APFA-Bhutan strives to pave way for institutionalizing a vibrant media working in close co-ordination with the political forces, human rights bodies and social organizations. It was long felt that Bhutanese movement should have strong media organization to disseminate information and advocate in a larger sphere. Thus, member of young generation who were deeply concerned about future of press freedom and democratization of Bhutan and had developed keen interest in journalism formed the association. It was always felt by this group of young men to communicate effectively with various groups of people to minimize the level of confusion hovering over the Bhutanese community in exile and in Bhutan. By means of facilitating interactions among the political forces and human rights groups, the association attempts to clarify concepts and build general understanding these pro-active forces. Above all, APFA-Bhutan has ultimate mission to establish free press in Bhutan and thus continue the struggle for achieving it.
APFA-Bhutan runs various programs as part of its advocacy campaign for freedom of the press and freedom of speech and expression of the Bhutanese people. apfanews.com is the hourly updated news site run by the organization. The site gives independent and accurate news on Bhutan and Bhutanese refugees.
Similarly, APFA Bhutan publishes a newspaper called The Bhutan Reporter from its office in exile in Kathmandu. The paper is circulated through Nepal, India and Bhutan in hard copy. Readers can also access the paper online in PDF format for free download.
Similarly, the organization also runs a weekly radio program called Saranarthi Sarokar (voices of the refugees) from a FM radio station in Kathmandu. The radio program can be listened live on our site or at nepalfnnetwork.com, the website of the radio station.
In collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), we have published two reports on status of press freedom in Bhutan in the annual report of the IFJ for South Asia. In 2007, APFA also published a separate booklet on media situation in Bhutan including the historical background of Bhutanese media. This the first instance of any publication concentrated only on media in Bhutan.
About the site
apfanews.com is one of the largest news portals that provides comprehensive news and analysis on Bhutan.
This news portal provides comprehensive news and updates on Bhutan, Bhutanese and any other issues related to them. The news and analysis in the portal shall be balanced, impartial and not motivated by some section of people or government influences. Our aim would be for the development and promotion of democratic principle and values in the country, focusing on the issues of undemocratic activities, human rights abuses and implementation of the ‘un-guaranteed’ but stated press freedom in the draft constitution.
We welcome critical write-ups about the political leaders and organizations in exile and in Bhutan or the Bhutanese king and his government but with assurances that dignified and honorable is language is used in. This is meant to elevate environment for open debates on goods and bads of the rulers and the fighters, with strengthening the procurement of undemocratic policies and state atrocities towards its citizens. What we hope is that this would foster the democratic values and principles in Bhutan.
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