Working towards vibrant democracy with responsible, independent media

Media in Bhutan

Media in Bhutan is a fairly young development. The concept of the media, as a player in the growth of a modern society began in the mid 1980s, with the establishment of the first Bhutanese newspaper, Kuensel and the Bhutan Broadcasting Station. In the late 1990s, ICT was introduced followed by electronic and television. Today, Bhutanese media has grown considerably in all its forms – print, broadcast, film, music and internet.

Today, there are 11 newspapers (7 in English and 4 in Dzongkha) that includes Kuensel (1965), Bhutan Times (2006), Bhutan Observer (2006), Bhutan Today (2008), Business Bhutan (2009), The Journalist (2009), The Bhutanese (2012), Druk Neytshuel (2010), Druk Yoedzer (2011),Gyalchi Sarshog (2012), Druk Melong (2012) and five radio stations that includes BBS Radio (1973), Kuzoo FM (2006), Radio Valley (2007), Centennial Radio (2008) and Radio Waves (2010). While, the FM services and shortwave services of the BBS reach the entire country, Kuzoo FM radio services are available nationwide and remaining radio stations services are currently available only in Thimphu. Magazines range from news magazine such as Drukpa (2009), Voyager (2013) travel magazine to entertainment magazines that includes Yeewong (2008), Druk Trowa (2009), Student Digest (2011) and Bhutan Timeout (2012).

Television has only been introduced since 1999. Currently BBS TV is the only television channel that caters local news and programmes in Bhutan. The BBS launched its satellite television service in February 2006 and is now available in more than 40 Asian countries – from Turkey in the West to Indonesia in South East Asia. Cable television services are also available in Bhutan which covers almost all the parts of Bhutan provided by the cable TV operators. While the film industry is still in its infancy, the number of Bhutanese films has been increasing with more people venturing into the industry.

In recent years, social media has gained popularity with an increasing number of Bhutanese blogging, visiting popular social networking sites like facebook and twitter for news and information, interaction, and discussion among others.