Role of Media in the Changing Socio-Political Situations in Bhutan

Balasubramanian, N. ; Nidup, Jigme

In: Media and public culture: proceedings of the Second International Seminar on Bhutan Studies. Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu 2007, pp. 334-350 . ISBN 99936-14-41-6

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Abstract

Significant political, economic, and social developments are taking place in Bhutan. With the coming of democracy and elections in 2008, the impact of media on Bhutanese society is going to be far more increased. Newer challenges are ahead and how to cope up with these challenges is going to be a Herculean task. In most countries, the mass media has moved away from the positive expectations of civil society. Global competition and the profit motive have made the media forget its social responsibility. Instead, it is busy transforming citizens into spectators by offering them entertainment in the name of knowledge and communication. A major challenge for media in Bhutan will be "how to get the people out this whirlpool of consumerism?". What role will the media have in making the people at large rise from their individual selves to the spiritual level of responsible citizenship? To what extent will the media in Bhutan be circumscribed by neutrality, impartiality, security, anonymity, and meritocracy? These are some major issues requiring attention in this paper. With the passage of time, the fourth estate, the press and and the media, has not only become an important factor in Bhutan but is playing a major role in educating the public. Irrespective of age or qualification, the language of a large number of people is being significantly influenced by it. The general use of phrases, syntax, and idiom is often being determined by the way media use them. The electronic media has really made the world a global village. Just by pressing a button one gets to know the happenings in virtually any part of the globe. In the days to come the extent to which the media is going to control people's aspirations in Bhutan cannot be undermined. The political changes that are to take shape in 2008, the general election and democracy, are going to bring a lot more uncertainties about the role of the media. The world over what one sees today is the media is trying to set out a pattern which is held to be sacrosanct. It projects its views in such ways that there is a general feeling among the public that those who do not conform to this pattern are to be considered backward. The pattern is essentially a copy of the West and the Englisheducated urban population is just trying to imitate it and become 'street smart'. The authors' effort in this article would be to explore the ways and means of monitoring the media's impact on the society and also to examine how the media should play a positive role in building up the society towards more knowledgeable, rational, and analytical citizens. How will the media address issues like enlightening the citizens and overhauling the education system to make it valuebased so as to obtain the best results? The media will have to play a very major role in shaping the opinions and attitudes of the people of Bhutan. It should become the watchdog of the society and at the same time its role needs to be monitored by an established autonomous institution.

Document type: Book Section
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 14 April 2009
ISBN: 99936-14-41-6
Faculties / Institutes: Research Organisations / Academies > Centre for Bhutan Studies
DDC-classification: News media, journalism, publishing
Controlled Subjects: Bhutan, Massenmedien, Beeinflußung
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sozio-politischer Prozess, Bhutan , Mass Media , Impact , Socio-political Process
Subject (classification): Media
Politics
Countries/Regions: Bhutan