Another paper violates media Act

Published on Sep 16 2011 // Media Monitor

Kuensel is asked again to stop printing the unlicensed paper

Druk Gyelyong Sarsho 16 September, 2011 – Kuensel corporation limited received another letter yesterday from the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority just as it was writing its response to the earlier letter the authority had sent.

This time, the letter, which was a copy of the one sent to The Journalist, instructed Kuensel to stop printing Druk Gyelyong Sarsho, a weekly Dzongkha newspaper, until ‘further orders’. Druk Gyelyong Sarsho started as the Dzongkha issue of The Journalist.

The letter was addressed to Tashi Tobgay, the former administration and finance head of The Journalist, who is today the management head of Druk Gyelyong Sarsho.

It reads: “ This is to bring to your notice that, after reminding you through a letter on June 23, you have published your newspaper without a valid publishing license, in violation of the Bhutan Information, Communications and Media Act 2006.”

BICMA has directed to stop publishing the newspaper with immediate effect and to ‘show cause’ as to why the authority cannot hold the newspaper liable under section 96 of the Act on or before September 16 (today).

Tashi Tobgay said he had applied for a license to BICMA, who after an assessment informed him that they would “hold” his license. “But they never said I should stop printing the paper,” he said.

He said soon after starting as the Dzongkha version, he talked with the chief executive officer of The Journalist of his interest to separate the paper and applied for the license.

Kuensel’s management said that they were never informed by BICMA to stop printing Druk Gyelyong Sarsho when they sent a letter to the Druk Gyelyong Sarsho paper in June.

However, after BICMA issued the letter to Druk Gyelyong Sarsho in June, they stopped getting copies of the weekly newspaper, even though the paper was being printed.

BICMA in that letter had instructed him to stop printing the paper and not that it was holding his licence. The authority was not convinced with the financial aspect of the paper.

Observers ask what took BICMA almost three months to realise that an unlicensed paper was still being published.

Meanwhile, Kuensel has asked BICMA for an extension until September 20 to respond to the authority’s earlier letter, which stated that Kuensel has violated provisions of the BICM Act by printing the unlicenced Gyalchi Sarshog.

BICMA also clarified that, while the letter from Gyalchi Sarshog’s chief executive editor Gembo Dorji to them was dated September 2, they received it only on September 8. The paper has about four employees contrary to the 11 Gembo Dorji claimed in an earlier interview.

BICMA responded on September 9, just as the first issue of Gyalchi Sarsho hit the newsstands.

By Sonam Pelden in Kuensel