English | Dzongkha Thursday, April 2, 2020

High Court rules in favour of BBSC in the ‘Hema Hema…’ case

Sep 30, 2019

The High Court overturned the earlier decision of the Thimphu district court regarding a case between Bhutan Broadcasting Service Corporation (BBSC) and Bhutan Infocom and Media Authority (BICMA). The district court had asked BBSC to pay a fine of Nu 45,000 to BICMA for breaching the journalist code of conduct.

In its judgment letter, the high court said according to the constitution, a Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to information and there shall be freedom of press, radio and television and other forms of dissemination of information, including electronic.

Earlier this year, the Thimphu District Court penalized BBSC for breaching the journalist code of conduct.

The issue came in the limelight after BBS aired a story about BICMA not approving the screening of the Bhutanese film, “Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait”, directed by Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche in December 2016.

BBS was accused of broadcasting clipping of the film that was not been certified by BICMA, disseminating incorrect information and misinforming and misleading the public. BBSC was also accused of running the story without BICMA’s views.

The media regulator, BICMA had asked BBS to pay a fine of more than Nu 200,000 for failing to abide by its directives to pay penalties. The penalty imposed on BBSC was for violating BICMA Act, which states that no film intended for public exhibition shall be advertised to the general public through any medium before the grant of a certificate by the authority.

However, BBS refused to pay the fine and BICMA took the matter to the court.

Choni Dema

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