English | Dzongkha Thursday, April 18, 2019

Bhutan Observer suspends their print edition

Aug 6, 2013

Bhutan-Observer--Suspends-Print-EditionBhutan’s second oldest private newspaper in the country, Bhutan Observer, is suspending their print edition. It has been in the market for around seven years. The Chief Executive Officer, Phuntsho Wangmo, said sustaining as a socially responsible independent media has always been a challenge.

The last edition of the paper was published last week. However, news will be available online. They will be uploading stories on a daily basis. “Because of the market situation, it becomes challenging to maintain that number of professionals required in running the newspaper and also to keep up with the nationwide reach and also the print edition is costly.  Printing itself is one thing and other is the circulation of nationwide, it cost huge amount of money,” she said.

Today, most of the private media houses sustain on advertisement from the government.  Its dependence is as high as about 80 to 90 percent. When asked about the sustainability, Phuntsho Wangmo said to be a socially responsible independent media has always been a challenge.

“To just sustain as a media is not really difficult. I mean if you want to sustain by having five people, not circulating nationwide or by compromising on professionalism you can sustain but do you want to sustain like that, this is a question that we have always asked ourselves. Sustainability for us to sustain as a responsible and independent, not aligned with any group which is again a challenge.”

She added, the ideas borrowed from developed countries for the media development in the country have also miserably failed in Bhutan. “We have number of media experts who advise our government on the method and best practices of media development in the country. Many of these methods or practices that might have worked in a matured media market situation in a developed countries many not necessarily work in Bhutan.”

For now the only option for Bhutan Observer to be in the market is to diversify their business. Besides their online publication, the Company will be focusing on research and consultancy works as an interim measure. The paper was first introduced in 2006.

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