Formation of the Bhutan Media Foundation

His Majesty the King on the Media

His Majesty the King during the closing of the 3rd National Assembly session on 30th July 2009 announced his support to the news media in the following words.

“Media – newspapers, television, radio and the internet – must play a very important role. I appreciate that while some of the media agencies are young and lack adequate resources, they have strived to perform their duties with complete commitment. Hereafter, media will be vital in keeping people well informed and in encouraging debate and participation – key to a vibrant democracy. Therefore, I have decided that through the exercise of my Royal prerogative of Kidu, to strengthen media agencies so that they may carry out their duties, without fear or favour, in the interest of democracy.”

First audience on 7 August 2009

His Majesty the King granted an audience to the heads and editors of the print media as well as BBS. The heads and editors submitted the idea of a media foundation to help sustain the media in Bhutan.

Second audience on 14 August 2009

Following the first audience, the managing directors of the print media met and discussed the formation of the Bhutan Media Foundation. A concept note on the Foundation was drafted and agreed upon by all the heads of the print media. The concept note was presented to His Majesty the King during the second audience during which His Majesty assured full support for the Foundation. The group was asked to work on a charter for the Foundation.

First meeting among the media on 15 August 2009

The first meeting finalised the list of the steering committee members to work on the formation of the BMF. A working committee was finalised. The media houses contributed a sum of Nu 10,000 to meet the expenses of the steering committee.

Draft charter submitted to His Majesty the King

The draft charter of the Bhutan Media Foundation was submitted to the Royal Office of Media in August 2009.

His Majesty the King grants Royal Kasho

During an audience granted to the representatives of all the media houses on 21 February 2010, His Majesty issued the Kasho on the establishment of the Bhutan Media Foundation with a seed fund of Nu. 20 million. Subsequently, the first meeting on the formation of the Bhutan Media Foundation was held on 2 March 2010 and was attended by the representatives of the Bhutanese media.

BMF Board formed

The second meeting was held on 8 March 2010 during which the media representatives to the BMF was elected. The working committee wrote a letter to the government requesting government representatives on the BMF Board. The representative of the media to the BMF are Tashi Dorji from BBS, Needrup Zangpo from Bhutan Observer, Tashi Phuntsho from Drukpa magazine and Chencho Tshering from Kuensel. The government proposed the names of Dasho Kinley Dorji, Hon’ble Secretary of MoIC, and Mr. Thinley Dorji, Chief, PPD, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through a letter dated 7 May 2010.

BMF Director appointed

The first BMF board met on the 24 May 2010 and discussed the appointment of Executive Director for the BMF. It was decided that an advertisement would be placed in all the newspapers and the radio/TV calling for application for the position of Executive Director. The announcement for Executive Director for BMF was placed in the media from 22 June 2010. When the application date closed on 30 August 2010, 15 applicants had applied for the position. However, one applicant withdrew her application. On 14 September 2010, the Board met and shortlisted the candidates to seven with the agreement that the list would be further shortened to about five candidates. On 1 October 2010, final shortlisting was completed in the office of the Secretary, MoIC. Three candidates selected for the interview, namely Kesang Samdrup from the Department of Revenue and Customs, Tenzin R. Wangchuk from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Lily Wangchuk from Simple Solutions. The interview for Executive Director’s post was held on 6 October 2010 at the Office of Bhutan Observer.

BMF starts operation

The Bhutan Media Foundation started operation from 1 March 2011 with the recruitment of Secretariat staff. Since then, the Foundation has changed two Executive Directors. The third Executive Director has been in charge of the Foundation since September 2018.