We are happy to share here that a story exclusively on ‘The Bhutan Reporter’ was published in America-based international famed magazine ‘GLOBAL JOURNALIST’ in October 2007 .
In early 2006, we translated and published the draft constitution of Bhutan and circulated to Bhutanese community and Nepali experts with the aim to inform them of the kind of constitution made by Bhutanese regime. The Nepali version of the constitution was published again after the king promulgated the constitution on July 18. The soft copy of the translation can be downloaded from our site .
Since our first anniversary, we have been continuously publishing the annual press freedom report that incorporates all events and development related to media industry despite the fact that it is very small. We are the only team monitoring and publishing annual media report on Bhutan.
We also proudly say, we were able to publish successive reports on situation of press freedom in Bhutan in the annual press freedom report of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) since 2005-06 , . For obvious reasons, the IFJ denied including our part in its annual report last year for obvious reasons while this year, we were able to include it again.
Besides, we have conducted a number of workshops and trainings intended to inculcate skills of journalism among the exile Bhutanese youngsters every year. We have also compiled a booklet on basic concepts of journalism and journalistic ethics and distributed to our reporters as guidelines for them.
APFA initiated a joint effort for press freedom and called on two other media organizations working for press freedom in Bhutan and operating in exile. Thus a conference was held in eastern Nepal making a historic declaration vowing to expedite fight for press freedom. The first media conference adopted ‘Declaration Dé Exile’. The declaration also accepted the APFA proposal to accept Bhutan News Service as the common and first news agency of Bhutan, but operating from exile.
From October 2004, we started publishing monthly newspaper The Bhutan Reporter, which still is continuously published despite hurdles and hardships of fund during its course. In the same month, a three-day training was organised in Beldangi camp inviting two young people from each camp, on basics of journalism. Thus the team was expanded, with enthusiastic response from the youngsters.
In September 2005, second training was organised for the young reporters to enhance their skills on news writing. APFA core team and some local journalists facilitated the training.
In May 2006 APFA started its online apfanews.com that has now become the most important source of information to those who have interest on Bhutan and Bhutanese refugee issue.
In February 2007, APFA started radio program in one of the local FM stations in Kathmandu . To note, general public in Kathmandu, at that time, hardly knew who Bhutanese refugees are and what the cause of eviction from Bhutan in 1990 is. Two years of efforts has given us good results not only educating Kathmandu residents of our cause but also letting the world listen the radio programs online which are available on both our site: apfanews.com, bhutannewsservice.com
Presence of Nepalese Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan , Nepal Chief of the UNHCR Daisy Dell and several other senior human rights activists on the celebration of Saranarthi Sarokar’s first anniversary in February 2008 reflects the influences generated by the APFA activities.
In November 2007, APFA extended its radio program to Jhapa where refugees can listen . After five months (three months funded by LWF), the radio program in Jhapa was closed down as sponsor citied lack of fund. The radio program in Kathmandu continues to this day. For a few months since December 2007, the radio program was also aired through CJMC community radio in Kathmandu .
In November 2008, APFA brought out an exclusive report on Gross National Happiness, much talked philosophy propagated by the fourth king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, pointing out its failure to address the grievances of the people .
Only last month (April 2009) we have published an exclusive report on one year of democratic practice in Bhutan . The report not only is critical of the government’s failure to incite democratic culture in Bhutanese society but also appreciates some of its initiatives towards ending absolute rule.
In March 2008, APFA raised more than NRs 700,000 (in cash and kind) through lobby in Kathmandu and Bhutanese community in western countries to support the fire victims of Goldhap camp . The inferno had burnt the whole camp displacing more than 10,000 refugees. Most of the support was distributed to the refugees through Caritas Nepal while some through camp management committee.
In November 2007, APFA raised over NRs 200,000 from Kathmandu to support fire victims in Beldangi I camp where the fire hazard had displaced over 35 families. The support was distributed cash .
In 2007 and 2008, APFA supported six patients of various illness collect donations get their treatment in Kathmandu hospitals at discount rate or free of cost.
In course of the activities, journalists working with APFA faced several threats – even death threats – for being journalist. The communist groups among the refugee community especially targeted our reporters Ichha Poudel, Arjun Pradhan and Jiten Subba who had to remain hiding for several days due to death threats.