6 TV applications with BICMA …

Published on Dec 23 2011 // Media Monitor
By Sonam Pelden in Kuensel, December 22, 2011

… plus four for newspapers, three Dzongkha/English and one Dzongkha
Media Despite initial complaints that the minimum investment of Nu 30M was too high a condition to start a private television station in the country, six have registered with the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority, which called for applications more than three months ago.

Registering requires paying a Nu 50,000 non-refundable application processing fee.

Of the six registered so far, three are “old” parties, who were interested since the beginning.

The six are Rabsel Media Services, Druksel TV, Druk High TV, Singay and Lhaki Group, Wangchuk Dorji, vice chairman of Tashi group of companies, and Ugetsu Communications, which is owned by Ugyen Wangdi, the director of Bhutan’s first film Gasa Lamai Singye.

Sangay Tenzin Dakpa from Rabsel Media said they plan to open a 24×7 news channel. Radio High’s Ugyen Tenzin has registered to start Druk High TV, a 24×7 news and program channel.

But Nidup Dorjikss, actor and talent hunt Bhutan Star’s organizer, who was also interested to start an entertainment channel, could not register as he did not pay the Nu 50,000 non-refundable processing fee.

The last day for submission of their detailed project reports (DPR) has been extended to March 14 next year from November 15 this year. “The deadline was extended, because the three new applicants sought time extension to prepare their detailed project reports,” a BICMA official said.

The six “interested parties” are yet to submit the DPRs. “But if they submit it after March 14, their DPRs won’t be accepted,” the official said.

The authority is giving itself a month’s time to evaluate the reports and, if completed, would approve in principle by May 2012 the eligible applicants.

On the extent the authority would go to check and ensure that there would be no cross ownership, BICMA said the applications are reviewed as per provisions of the existing Act, regulations, rules and the licensing terms and conditions.

“Vital information, with respect to cross ownership, including the sources of financing, are checked and validated as per procedures established for this purpose,” BICMA said.

Meanwhile, BICMA has also received four applications to start a newspaper. Three applications are for English/Dzongkha papers, and one for a Dzongkha newspaper.

BICMA will be in a position to disclose the names of applicants, as and when a license is issued, as per provision of the Bhutan Information, Communications and Media Act 2006 (Act).

If all four come through, there would be 14 newspapers in the country, including four Dzongkha papers.