Free media’s other ace?

When Dasho Kinley Dorji was appointed as the MOIC secretary last year, I hinted that that could be both good and not-so-good for our media.

Now, it appears that the government has recruited Tenzin Rigden, apparently on a short-term contract, as their “media advisor”.  Tenzin Rigden worked in Kuensel, owned Bhutan Media Services, and started and owns Bhutan Times. He’s commands considerable influence in the media circle.

So, like Dasho Kinley, Tenzin’s appointment to the Prime Minister’s Office can be good for the media. Or, it could be dangerous. We’ll know soon enough.

But for now, what we need to know is this: who is paying for Tenzin Rigden? If he is being paid by the government, his position should have been advertised and the recruitment carried out in accordance with the RCSC’s guidelines. It wasn’t.

 

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  1. DPT government has always buldozzed whatever they wanted. It is unlikely they will consult anyone. We all should be incensed at the way we are being treated by this government

  2. Kencho Tshering says:

    In the real essence, I find so difficult to convince myself if there is really democracy in our country with the present government. Whatever, the government does were all against the people wish (CDG, pay rais for the MPs, appointment of people in their offices, unilateral decisions on the liberalization of tourism tarriffs, and so on and on). This government has not listened any of the peoples grievances and concern voiced through different media. Therefore, I am not convinced if there is really democracy in our country while every speech the PM makes, he says he is laying strong foundation for democracy. I really failed to put things into true perspective. What has others to say?

    I feel we are more democratic during the time of monarchy than now. Now is the bull dozing everywhere for the benefit of their MP’s and close ones.

    We just have to wait and see how far things go like this.

  3. i wonder why.
    does the government seek spin doctors or does the government look for guides to leading the way in promoting government – public interactions.
    of course, the government is justified in strengthening its media presence – and the first thing the pros, being so conspicuously chosen, must do is stress on the urgent need for transparency as the single most effective tool in building government support within the general masses. needless to say, such a commitment to open dialogue will win points among the other sectors of society.
    or else, they can always just Wag-the-Dog! LOL

  4. Sangay Wangmo says:

    Tenzin Rigden was one of the main architects for the destruction of oppostion using Bhutan Times. Now that the PM has recruited him as their media relations advisor, the public must know how much is he paid? By whom? and if his appointment is in line with the constitution of Bhutan. How can the government use public tax money to pay someone to benefit the party?

    • If that’s the case it’s a huge payback to Tenzin Rigden for his services to DPT’s victory in 2008 election. And it says a lot about Bhutan’s free and fair media, and Tenzin Rigden’s professional integrity. Shame on you Tenzin Rigden for not only compromising your professional integrity but also for all the problems you have caused to Bhutan Media. It says a lot about your character.

  5. I think a PM is entitled to have a Press Officer/Spokesperson, isn’t he? If there wasn’t one before, it is good that he has created such a post.

    Dasho Kinley is the Secretary of Communications and cannot hold that portfolio.

    The President of the United States also has such a person. I think it makes the office of the PM more professional. Every sitting PM should have one

    • The question is not about PM’s office having or not having a Press Officer. It’s about not following established rules and procedures in recruiting Tenzin Rigden.

  6. P.S, Tenzin Rigden may have worked for Kuensel etc. but we can’t cry foul and say that doesn’t qualify him to be the person for this office. As of now he is an independent person.

    This is the nature of Democracy and the nature of belonging to a small society

  7. I agree with Sonam Ongmo on having a press officer/media officer for our PM. But the question here is not on having media officer or not. It is on the procedure that the media officer is recruited and paid by the Govt. of Bhutan (Tax payers money). So Sonam what do you say on this hahahahahhahaaaaaa such things will carry on and on with our elected govt. so long the black crow becomes white crow.

  8. Well – our PM definitely requires somebody who can help him communicate with the people but ironic – lack of transparency for a role that is supposed to do this.

  9. Dremten Drukpa says:

    The thing that worries is the most in Bhutan is the inability of the government to separate the good people from the bad and to recognize and find good people to lead. A case in point, a man who has made bad judgement and destroy otherwise a promising media (Bhutan Times) is now hire by DPT to do the job that he just failed to do. How stupid is that!

  10. I am sorry, but in every country, this is the facility/privilege for the PM as head of the nation to have a Press Officer and (whether you like it or not) comes from Tax payers money. It doesn’t go according to whether you like him or not. He is ENTITLED to it.

    I think people are being a little petty here in that just because they may not like his policies they are cribbing about the creation of a PO post.

    If the question is on the person (Tenzing Rigden) being hired then I would say, would you rather our PM have a person who has no media background?

    If that is case he or any person applying for that post shouldn’t qualify for that post.

  11. @ karma 1, can you elaborate the rules and procedures, I do not know about them.

    @ Dremten Dukpa, whether Tenzing Rigden is responsible for creating or destroying BT, it is the PM’s office who is hiring him so I guess we should leave it to their discretion to be a judge of that.

    • Looks like you are blinding posting without even reading the OL’s original post properly. Here it is (last para last sentence):

      “His position should have been advertised and the recruitment carried out in accordance with the RCSC’s guidelines. It wasn’t.”

      • In our young democracy, we don’t want the present PM to create precedence of not following the law of the land. Otherwise future elected leaders will do the same.

        And we’ll truly have a “UNIQUE” Democracy – one that is not based on the “Rule of Law.”

  12. Sangay Wangmo says:

    We are basically saying, DPT is paying their dues to Tenzin Rigden by making him a media advisor. Look at the Bhutan Times news articles pre and during the elections -timing of the news releases and I learnt. We are questioning the PM’s nepotism as always and questioning Tenzin Rigden’s character. What PM is doing is for his own good, for his party’s own good and not for the good of democracy in Bhutan or not for the good of people of Bhutan.

    • If what you say is true about Bhutan Times being pro DPT before the elections, then I am all confused. My confusion stems from the mystery as to how a newspaper owned by PDP supporters was actually allowed to be pro DPT in their reporting.

      If Tenzin Rigden has been hired as the PMs press officer, that is the PMs prerogative, however, I for one cannot understand how the PM can hire a person who has serious flaws in his character.

  13. Karma penjore says:

    As MD of Bhutan Times, tenzin Rigden bought a printer for 200 lakhs (two crores), had it brought to Bhutan and it never worked and was later sold back to the same company for 5 lakhs. Is he really that stupid (he is not)? but his shady character is questionable. Some more than 250 shareholders of Bhutan Times are paying for his dubious dealings as CEO. No wonder, PM has someone like this man as media advisor.

  14. Leave aside the PM, I am sure you or I (or any human for that matter) would go with the person that supports him. I too would make Tenzing Rigden my spokesperson if I thought he supported me.

    I guess PM has to do things for his own good (at least when it comes to a Press Officer) if he is to hold such an important office. Wouldn’t you? I would.

    Re the pre-election coverage of the DPT by Bhutan Times, if you thought that Bhutan Times was biased towards DPT, I thought otherwise. I thought Bhutan Times coverage was more pro PDP, after all the majority of shareholders of BT were/are PDP supporters. I guess it all lies in perception.

    I don’t agree with many things DPT has done, I don’t agree with many of their policies either and I intend to question that. That being said don’t let that cloud our judgement and let us lose sight of the bigger picture that he IS our Prime Minister and holds an important post as an ELECTED leader of our country.

    In every country a PM is entitled to certain things in his office (and yes with tax payer money) and having a PO is one of them. Despite all the hatred and bad press Bush had I never heard a single American complain that their President had a (Jumbo) Airforce One plane all to himself to make trips around the world, leave alone a Press Officer.

    You may say “Oh, we are not Americans” but I am making this example to show that the US who has had, perhaps, one of the longest histories as a Democratic nation knows that much is owed to their leader – no matter what they might say about him otherwise.

    • I agree with almost all your points. But as responsible citizens, our primary duty is to make sure that the foundation of our democracy “Rule of Law” is protected. That all citizens of the nation follows the Law.

  15. Well, you all should go and see ministries and corporations who are recruiting countless number of people on contract without calling for open competition!!!!!…..There should be clear cut guideline on recruiting people on contract…..In most places, recruitment are done based on personal relation rather than professional capability!….This thing should be corrected before it become worst!

  16. Karma penjore says:

    Don’t compare us with US. There they elect the president directly by the people. In our case, we never voted for JYT to be the PM of this country, we voted for our own candidates in the constituency. That is the difference, and whatever you are saying, Sonam Ongmo, you are a paid mercenary of DPT. It is quite clear.

    • Karma penjore, I want you to go and learn the alphabets of American Politics before you comment here. From your comment above, I have a hunch that you are not only ignorant about the American Politics, but you’re talking down Bhutan. If you think the US presidents are elected “directly by the people”, why did George W. Bush become the President in 2000? Look, you have no idea of what you’re saying.

      • Karma penjore says:

        Dear Sonam, Thanks for reminding that I am no expert in US politics. Yes,I do not profess to be an expert on US politics but I know that every state has a given number of electorate colleges (say for example, Alaska has 3 electoral colleges). In the elections, whoever the democratic nominee or republican nominee (let us say Obama from Democratic Party and Macain from GOP) gets the majority votes from this state wins 3 electoral colleges, and the one to win 270 electoral colleges wins the White House. I may not be an expert but I do know a little about US politics.
        As for your assumption that I am putting down our country, I will never do that even if death stares me in the face. I love my country and that is why, I am writing to protect the interests of our country, interests of our children and our future. Our monarchs and forefathers have made a lot of sacrifices and we should not let anyone destry it for his own vested interests. Not JYT, not anyone. I will lay down my life for this country but I would not be cowtowed.

        Thanks for reminding, but I want you to know that I am not against JYT, I am against his policy of saying something and doing something entirely different.

  17. let me take one example..from america ofcourse–i believe Obama chose people he liked for his new office. i was surprised this guy Kal Penn of Harold and Kumar is also one of his guys in his office.and i do not know if the vacancy for posts in “Obama’s office” were announced in the media or if the people were selected in a competitive interview or exam
    what i see here is we are just playing PM or DPT down for no particular reason.
    well, doesnt that makes us Bhutanese?

    • Karma penjore says:

      Let us not compare Bhutan to the US. The rules are different, it is an entirely different ball game. US president can appoint anyone on his cabibet but JYT can’t because the rules are different. you have got to be an elected MP in the NA to be on the cabinet. Let us be critical so that our journey for the democracy starts in good faith. I am not out there to just discredit the government.

  18. Everybody here agrees that our PM should have a press officer. This was needed for quite a long time. Good that he has finally realised it.

    However the debate here is about following the procedures and systems in place. What we lack is “leadership by example”. There is a need to clarify if the PO is paid for by the Government. And if so there are rules which should have been adhered to. This should be the first communication that the PO should do – clarify his position.

    And – comparison with American democracy is far removed from ours at the moment for the following reasons –

    1. The system there allows the President for an overhaul of all the key posts when he comes in.

    2. America has close to 400m people and may be the impact of the Presidential Jet (which is allowed by the Presidential entitlements) on each individual is limited. Here – what happens elsewhere in the Government impacts me, my family, friends and community. We are just 0.65 million.

    The bottom line – Transparency in everything if we are to build a good democracy

    • RCSC procedures for PM Office? Come on. RCSC procedures apply only for civil service and PM Office are mostly political appointees. Don’t mistake it.

      • Phuntsho – Please read what I wrote. I reproduce it here for your benefit.

        “There is a need to clarify if the PO is paid for by the Government. And if so there are rules which should have been adhered to.”

        Whether political or not – the position should be clarified. I hope you agree.

        And by the way if TR is a political apointee like you say – it is wrong for the Government to pay him. A government employee cannot be politically biased.

      • PM is the Head of the Government. He has the authority to hire someone to work for his office and pay from the exchequer of the Government. I don’t find it wrong.

        In my opinion, appointment of TR fits the bill of political appointee. That being said, it’s up to the PM’s office if they choose to have procedures established with regards to such selection and appointment. But as mentioned in the foregoing, I don’t agree with your saying that government paying him is wrong. Government should pay him as he is working for the person, who’s none other than the Head of the Government of Bhutan.

  19. I agree with Sonam Ongmo that at least PM being a democratically person should have some authority. Selecting the Media Advisor after announcement might even lead to selecting a non relevant or incapable person in which case the very purpose of having that post in defeated. How about if a media person was of the PDP party but working for the DPT govt.? Its not a big issue. If the PM has misused that media person do conduct something unconstitutional then of course it would be a point to argue. I don’t think true democracy just means following all procedures. The fact is that PM has been from the party elected by the majority of people and therefore whatever decisions he makes is also considered to be in line with the majority of people. My logic is based on the fact that PM now represents Bhutan as a country and not DPT. So, should the leader of a country not have minimum privilege? Does it also mean that PM should even follow the immigration and customs formalities at Paro airport? Some might even say that even the PM is not following the rules and procedures, so why should other people do?

  20. phuntsho, you said it. I think, our people are trying to take the PM to task for hiring a PO (high time that he did).

    Yes, I agree it should’ve been clearly delineated in the terms of the PM’s office whether hiring of a PO/spokesperson should be of his choice or according to RCSC rules.

    I think as of now the only thing that you want to accuse him is that ( that you are not clear by what rules apply in the selection process) @ Karma 1. Does the PM’s selection of a PO fall under RCSC rules? Do you know? Maybe not because there has never been such an appointee before. Correct? Not?

    As far as I know heads of nations CHOOSE every member of their own administration and here we’re cribbing over his selection of a Press Officer?

    While I have complained about certain actions of the sitting government, it pains me that people are trying to nit,pick through these petty details and losing sight of the real issues.
    This is what has made the functioning of so called “Democracy” so difficult in societies who mire themselves in petty details.
    That is why we’d have been better off with a Monarchy – I think.

  21. @ Karma Penjore. You might be upset that I don’t subscribe to your point of view, but please stick to the points and refrain from making accusations that I am a paid mercenary. I have made my position clear. Whether I am a DPT supporter or not, it is my choice as much as it is your choice to be a PDP supporter. Who we cast our votes for is our choice – isn’t that the premise of the Democracy? (although I did not get to cast a vote this time)

    If we as Bhutanese cannot learn to respect people’s choices I don’t see as going any further as a nation other than down the path of failed nations like Nepal.

    If you want to come onto online forums to have a discussion, please:

    i) realize that there are many Bhutanese with different points of view and that people do not have to subscribe to yours (only!)

    ii) that if there are people who differ from your point of view, you do not start calling them names or concocting false allegations. Stick to the points. It would be more meaningful and perhaps we, and others, could learn something from it.

  22. @ Bhutaneseblogger. I agree with you, Transparency is everything.

    I think that is where this government is guilty of; in that it has not made/explained any of its actions. Hopefully, the selection of; and creation of this new post will enable smooth flow of information to the public.

  23. We are overdoing.

    When every action, policy, statement or even a sneeze of the government is ran through the layers of screening (at times by unqualified consultants), it leaves a very small space for them to function optimally. Motivation, as well, runs poor.

    It makes me wonder; are all procedures to be judged? Or is it that a set of procedure and the outcome it generates are important to us?

    I forgot the actual quote but goes something like…too bad, all the people who should be running the country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair…

    Atyipical of south-asian democracies has been a slightly higher than ideal grassroots politicization. Every next decision is criticised, mocked and streetised(forgive the word).

    Shouldn’t we warm our hearts a little bit more and trust the people who are spending days in and out on these issues? This does not override, in anyway, some of the most illogical and biased decision on which discussions ran in pages even in this site.

    I do not have a comment on this topic specifically.

  24. To hell with democracy if the elected PM has no authority to even chose his press officer.

    • Karma penjore says:

      Dear Toula, the issue is not about whether the PM has the power to choose his press officer or not. The issue is this:

      1. Tenzin Rigden is a member of media supposed to be independent and not political, and this points out the fact that Tenzin Rigden was biased and made sure that DPT had upper hand in the elections. Was there a nexus between JYT and Tenzin Rigden as a media leader in the first Bhutan’s elections? Just think, may be not, but it is even some inkling of truth there, Bhutanese democracy is corrupt.

      2. As MD of Bhutan Times, he incurred a loss of some 8 milions mostly through mismanagements, and the DPT government is said to have paid off these losses to Bhutan Times, and the government has no money to pay for earthquake victims in the East. Even if government paid for these losses, why wasn’t there any media coverage on this that affects all of us as tax payers and citizens?

      Juts think, if PM really wants a strong democracy in Bhutan, why nexus between media and the politicians?

  25. I am curious to know what ‘attracted’ Tenzin Rigden to this job. There must be something much ‘greener’ about it than what he was already doing. After all, we people are known for seeking greener pastures, aren’t we?

  26. I am surprised that there a number of people who try to bring out issues pretending to be knowing a lot of democracy. While debate of any kind is in general good it is sometimes tiring to debate of small issues which are made to seem something of serious matter. Is there a “ladder of inference”. Perceptions change many things in one’s life and sometimes wrong perceptions can even make people feel insecure and drain a lot of energy. To me there is nothing wrong for the PM to have a PO and to have him/her selected wisely. The same choice will be there for the future PMs also. I also respect the choice of Tenzin Rigden to have accepted. It is his choice and he as a free citizen has the right to make or lose money.

    • Karma penjore says:

      Dear Penjor, the matter is not small, not insignificant however small and insignificant it may seem to us. The nexus between politicians and media is a big corruption. Like it or not, bigger than bribery, bigger than theft as it is a political corruption. Just think, how media and politicians could bankrupt a country’s morale and resources. That is what this nexus will do for us, for our children. Just think but I tell you it is not so insignificant.

  27. @ Karma Penjore

    You are still misunderstanding the fact that Tenzing Rigden is no longer affiliated to ANY media organization. Whether he worked or Kuensel/Bhutan Times or any other org. at this point should not disqualify him because he is INDEPENDENT (unless that word is hard to comprehend)

    I understand your dislike for Tenzing Rigden as you seem to have a history from handing/taking over BT but don’t let your prejudice and bias cloud your thinking.

    Everyone here, like you, is thinking for the betterment of Bhutan but I can’t see how you can do that when you are clearly using your oersonal differences get in the way.

    Can you please explain what you meant by “Tenzing Rigden is meant to be a media person and not political?”
    thanks

    • Karma penjore says:

      Dear Sonam Ongmo, I don’t dislike Tenzin Rigden, I don’t dislike JYT but I love this country. Generations of our forefathers have worked hard to be where we are today and I will give my life to guard it. I think my statement that as a media personal, Tenzin Rigden has to be unbiased and not take sides. You are wrong if you think Tenzin is not attached to any media organizations. He manuavered and created Journalist. He still owns 10% of Bhutan Times which he is trying to destroy and he still owns Bhutan Media Services. He now owns and is CEO of another publishing company (media organisation). If you do not know, please do not pretend that you know it. Too bad, he thinks people don’t know that Bhutan Media Services is a part of Bhutan.
      As I said before, I am not against PM having a press officer but I am against JYT for being so conniving, so machiavalian and creating that nexus between media and politician, and he calls himself a champion of democracy in Bhutan. That is still ok but he wants to create that image of hallo around his head. He is only a human being with all greed and wants but he still wants to portray himself to the world everyone else is bad but himself. That is bad for Bhutan.

  28. What do you mean Tenzing Rigden as a media person should not be taking sides?

    If he is affiliated or employed by a newspaper, yes, he cannot take sides, but he is NO LONGER affiliated to ANY ORGANIZATION and therefore he is free to do as he chooses.

    So what if he created The Journalist? Do you have proof? These seem to be mere allegations right now. If you think that he owns the shares and owns Bhutan Media Services etc. why don’t you contact ACC then?

    Despite what you may say, it is plain to see that your views are so blinkered you can’t see straight.
    And I don’t know what an image of “hallo” around his head means, unless you meant “halo.”

    It sounds like you would lay down you life to trash PM and Tenzing rather than for the country (@ this rate anyway)Lol

    • Karma penjore says:

      Dear Sonam Ongmo,

      Read my responses>>

      What do you mean Tenzing Rigden as a media person should not be taking sides?

      >>Isn’t it plain and simple?

      If he is affiliated or employed by a newspaper, yes, he cannot take sides, but he is NO LONGER affiliated to ANY ORGANIZATION and therefore he is free to do as he chooses.

      >>>You don’t get it, do you?

      So what if he created The Journalist? Do you have proof? These seem to be mere allegations right now. If you think that he owns the shares and owns Bhutan Media Services etc. why don’t you contact ACC then?

      >>> Everybody knows this, just plain and simple

      Despite what you may say, it is plain to see that your views are so blinkered you can’t see straight.

      >> Yeah, only those fools calls others fools.

      And I don’t know what an image of “hallo” around his head means, unless you meant “halo.”

      >>> wow, you can spell really spell. Wouldn’t be surprised if you have been a spelling bee>

      It sounds like you would lay down you life to trash PM and Tenzing rather than for the country (@ this rate anyway)Lol

      >> Just see my reason, do you even understand what is meant by nexus between JYT as a political leader and Tenzin Rigden as a media person? If you do, things are plain and simple without calling me names.

  29. P.S How you contradict yourself. I don’t dislike Tenzing and I don’t dislike JYT and then you resort to calling them names and making unfounded accusations like he (JYT) wants to be the champion of democracy etc?

    Is that how you expect us to believe you? As of now I am not sure I can rely on anything you are saying because you contradict yourself too much.

    • P.S How you contradict yourself. I don’t dislike Tenzing and I don’t dislike JYT and then you resort to calling them names and

      >>> I did not call names, and I will not do it

      making unfounded accusations like he (JYT) wants to be the champion of democracy etc?

      >>> Unfounded? This is clear from what he says and what he does. He says, he is out to create a strong foundation for democracy in Bhutan. He is sending his wife and wives of other ministers and women members (using a government pilot and other resources) to all districts plausibly to thank people. He berates opposition and demands that opposition leader bow down to him. He bulldozed CDG through the parliament despite NC appeals to HM. He cowtows media and but wants to be seen as a champion of democracy. He calls our constitution, a stick and guide and snubs the rule of law. Is that being a champion of democracy?

      Is that how you expect us to believe you?

      >>> I don’t expect you to susbcribe to my views, I can only point out the facts and facts don’t tell lies.

      As of now I am not sure I can rely on anything you are saying because you contradict yourself too much

      >> You don’t have to, truth will and the truth will liberate you if you open up your mind.

  30. Thank you Karma Penjor for sharing YOUR views. If you agree that the PRIME MINISTER of Bhutan like in any other country could have a Press Officer and you argue just because Tenzin Rigden has been chosen for the post, then what is your suggestion for the post? You are against Tenzin Rigden because he worked in Kuensel and Bhutan Times. If so, then I hope you do not suggest to say that a fresh graduate or any other person without any knowledge of media would have been chosen for the post. In a small country like Bhutan, who would not have any connection with any political parties or media? Your suggestion that Bhutan Times supported DPT makes me laugh. I think it was otherwise. Although all the readers know very well, would you first list down all the major share holders of BT? I am sure you know more than anyone how companies function and what are the interests of the shareholders and in that respect it will be much clearer. With the smell of jealousy, hatred and anger in every corner innocent people like me are now beginning to feel that democracy is either unsuitable for us or we are being over sensitized. We talk of GNH to others but we ourselves are not happy. Even the quietest person in the corner has started to grumble over the last few years. I wish I could see more smiles and more agreement. If a survey is conducted I think we may be less happy than we were before democracy was introduced. I hope to see a peaceful, happy and prosperous Bhutan tomorrow, which means we need to look around but also look inside ourselves more so that we are true citizens that we talk of to others each time we meet a non-bhutanese. Are we moving towards decay?

    • Dear penjor, my basic argument is that there is nexus between political leadership and media. Most people would think that since Bhutan Times ownership is mostly PDP supporters, it favoured PDP. I have done a thorough research and find that the negative news articles on PDP were released at strategic periods. Just go back to the back issues of Bhutan Times, and it is clear.
      I agree with you, Penjore that I wish we have more smiles on our faces but I agree with you that more and more people are unhappy with democratic government we have.

      • WOW karma penjor dude :) I will just ask you few questions and I expect to get straight answers:
        1. You say that your “basic argument is that there is nexus between political leadership and media”. What are the premises for that argument? What are the facts?

        2. Since you said you did a “thorough research” on Bhutan Times favoring and helping DPT win the election, I (and I am sure others would like to read it too) would like to have a look at your research paper. Can you share it? Look, I don’t expect a ‘NO’ answer here. YOu either have to share and make your research finding public or you should stop using your research to justify your arguments in public. Since you used it to tell us that Bhutan Times supported and promoted DPT, I DEMAND you to show that thoroughly research paper.

        Don’t shove your “it is clear” down our throat. Show us and we will judge it for ourselves if it is clear. Your duty is to show.

  31. tenzin rigden says:

    With due respect to all the views expressed here, let me try to set the record straight – not so much to exonerate myself as it is to ensure that other people, along the way, are not undeservedly hurt.

    • A month or so after leaving Bhutan Times, I was asked if I could help establish an effective communication system between the government and the people by proactively engaging the news media. I was told the rationale was to make the government machinery and its functioning as transparent as possible. It was also made explicitly clear that my responsibility was not to “spin” things but to report events as they transpire so that Bhutanese people get nothing but the truth. To reinforce this standpoint, I was even told that if I, while discharging my functions, in anyway felt my own principles and integrity were compromised I could walk out any time.
    • I could not take an instant decision. To be frank, I was in a Catch-22. By then I had started a small publishing firm, manned by seven writers and designers. I could not possibly walk out and make them fend for themselves. But, then, if I had my hands in both, it possibly could give rise to conflict of interest (even if not now, eventually).
    • An even bigger dilemma I had to grapple with was my own reservations. I questioned if I had the capability – and the capacity – to shoulder such a huge responsibility. By my reckoning, the job wasn’t simple enough – in many ways, it was about ensuring transparency and accountability in a democracy. What if I failed? What if I let the expectations down? The consequences of inefficiency were frightening!
    • Given these reasons plus my fragile health, I kept on sidestepping the proposition for so long that the procrastination wasn’t helping anybody. So, a month ago, I suggested that I might, through a short stint of a few months or at the most up to a year, try HELP establish a system in which the government can positively, proactively and transparently inform the nation through the media. The PM clearly said, and rightfully so, that my appointment should be announced through the media. But I was not ready yet – I needed to OBSERVE various situations firsthand to make up my mind.
    • As to my background, I started my career in Kuensel in 1993 and resigned in 2002 end, after 10 years. In 2003, I started Bhutan Media Services (BMS), a small advertising firm, the assets of which were merged with Bhutan Times after the formation of the newspaper company in 2006. BT surrendered the BMS license in 2007. With due permission from the BT management, a former BT staff revived BMS (in the latter half of 2008 or early 2009, I am not sure) but I have no stake, financial or otherwise, there. In 2008 I invested Nu 200,000 (a portion of the money that I received as dividend from BT) as share in the Institute for Management Studies (IMS). Two months ago, I relinquished this ownership in favour of my elder brother. As far as my latest venture is concerned I, along with some friends, started a small publishing firm, known as Thinley Pelbar.
    • Regarding bias in executing the responsibility as press officer, it is up to you to judge. But here are the facts – worked in Kuensel for 10 years; started and ran BT for three years (yes, I still own 10% BT shares if there is any value at all now); the owner of Bhutan Today is my first cousin and its CEO my nephew; the editors of Business Bhutan are friends and former BT employees; the entire news team of The Journalist, as you know, comprises former BT news team (by the way, I have no ownership or control there); and, finally, the MD of Bhutan Observer is one of my closest friends (you can check if you don’t believe.)
    • Now, my political inclinations. I am accused of having used the BT newspaper to run anti-PDP and pro-DPT stories. On this, a) Please check the report of a European Union team which did an independent analysis of media reporting of political stories in Bhutan on the eve of elections; and , b) Talk to BT editors and reporters how huge a sway, if at all, I had in deciding the editorial content of the paper.
    If I recall well, BT was the first paper to raise the issue of the constitutionality of state funding for political parties, and BT’s voice against Constituency Development Grant was one of the loudest among the media circles. Similarly, BT was the first to write on the black-out of the live TV coverage of National Assembly and adopt an editorial position against the decision. Finally, please don’t forget that I am one of those who supposedly attained infamy for the Solidarity Walk.
    Citing these points, of course, is not intended to portray myself as a PDP supporter; all I am saying is that we must all be discerning and not follow political leaders and political ideologues blindly.
    • Lastly, some factual corrections. 1) The machine in BT press in Jemina which did not work was not bought for Nu 2 crores but for Nu 55 lakhs. As the supplier did not make it functional, we withheld the payment and eventually sold it for Nu 12.5 lakhs (not 15 lakhs). BT did not incur any loss from this machine. Further, the whole press has been leased out at a very profitable rate of Nu 20 lakhs a year.
    In the first six months of 2009, our unaudited internal accounts reflected a loss of about Nu 52 lakhs which I presented to the board. That was the loss during that period (January to June, 2009.) As of September 30, 2009 – the day I left BT – the company’s books showed an overall positive balance to the tune of Nu 70 to Nu 80 lakhs. We also paid a dividend of Nu 80 lakhs to the shareholders in 2008.

    Please feel free to contact me if any of you have further doubts at:

    Tenzin Rigden
    17110695
    bhutanmedia@gmail.com
    Thimphu

  32. Brilliant! By all means, an unconvulated statement of facts. It is clear Karma Penjore had an axe to grind and was taking all of us for a ride. Goodness, how vicious people can sometimes be!

  33. Now wait a minute. We appreciate Tenzin Rigden coming out openly with his post. But it is selective and the larger question may be what he is not telling us.

    Honest to God, Rigden can’t deny that he is (was) not a big fan of JYT and DPT. I have heard him talk.

    Anyway, there are two sides to every story. A lot of what Karma Penjore and Karma have written has a lot of truth too.

  34. Mr. Viewer says:

    Hi fellows,
    I think in a democratic country one of the silent form of government is the media sector where transparency and accountability is assured to the public. Media has to rather be apolitical then on to one side.
    T.Rigden is what so ever a person in the media community where he can always influence the issues and articles, where now having T.R at the disposal of DPTs door, he is vital to any bios and nepotism to this party.
    Hope T.R you follow the ethics as a media person where ever you are and how ever you serve.
    How his recruitment succeeded is still interesting to know.

  35. Did you guys read the story on two officials who got gold medals in their studies in India? The news in BBS TV showed tenzin Rigden talking to them, and the news in print media says “Lyonchen lauds the gold medals” or something like that. It is not Gold medalists recognised or A and B won gold medals but the emphasis is on Lyonchen doing this, Lyonchen doing that. If T.R is not putting a spin on such news articles, who is?

    We want to hear from T.R if the rumour that 7 million lost due to mismanagment by your company Bhutan Times has been paid to you by JYT government. The same government that has now hired you to be their media spin doctor?

  36. You guys still don’t seem to understand that when a PM or President hires a spokesperson, he is there to explain the activities of the PM, and whether you like it or not, promote the PM’s agenda.

    Yes, the person should not be affiliated or own any shares, but you cannot say that just because he has good relations with the media or not, should be the criteria for his hiring. In fact, anywhere else in the world, the better his ties are with the media, the better qualified he is for that job.

    If Tenzing has any shares or stakes in any of these businesses, he will have to forgo them/sell them off. But to say that his connections should discredit him from the post is like saying that a Doctor (not the spin Doctor medical Dr.) can only become a health advisor if knows no other Doctors or nurses. That was his business and what kind of influence he wields in that field should show how great he has been at his job.

  37. P.S if this is a temporary post/on contract, then I am sure the criteria for his hiring does not require him not to have any stakes in the media business. But this will have to be debated or looked at in depth.

  38. T.R said>>If I recall well, BT was the first paper to raise the issue of the constitutionality of state funding for political parties,

    Now that you are with the PM, we will take that DPT will never ask for our tax money to be used for funding the two parties.

    >>and BT’s voice against Constituency Development Grant was one of the loudest among the media circles.

    But did your “loudest” voice make any difference? If you as editor-in-chief and CEO of Bhutan Times raised idealogical differences between JYT and you, and now you two (JYT and yourself) make up when they offer you a position in his government, it doesnot say a lot about your character. The fact that you wanted to think says you have some moral voice within you. Listen to that little voice, no matter how unaudible it may be. CDG, despite being very contentious among all people have been bulldozed through without any regard to your voice, and the government wants to portray to the world that there is nothing wrong as you are with them. This is the real nexus, isn’t it?

    >>>Similarly, BT was the first to write on the black-out of the live TV coverage of National Assembly and adopt an editorial position against the decision.

    If this is really correct, how can you now promote the PM? His government (I would say JYT government as he is the most powerful there) banned live BBS from national assembly despite our media being guaranteed freedom by the constituion. If you promote such a regime, don’t you become a part of that regime? You will be promoting PM despite all his ill intentions.

    >>>Finally, please don’t forget that I am one of those who supposedly attained infamy for the Solidarity Walk.

    I support that walk. It would have been bad precedence for the country but the constitution guarantees such freedom. Are you proud of JYT’s actions on the solidariy walk? And now you are ready to stand by him and promote him? If I were you, Tenzin Rigden, I could not sleep. My conscience would be knawing at me day in and day out. You are a journalist and fighter at heart, get out from there and be a champion of freedom and not a spin doctor for someone who wants to cling on to an authoritative regime.

    >>Citing these points, of course, is not intended to portray myself as a PDP supporter; all I am saying is that we must all be discerning and not follow political leaders and political ideologues blindly.

    Good that you did not support PDP and that seems to be the basis of arguments for many people here. You do have conscience, listen to it and do not support a regime that is not good for the country. If you did not support PDP, so what? 67% of the electorates voted against it but do not support the regime whose ideology you say you do not agree with. Don’t be a spin doctor. Help usher in genuine democracy in Bhutan.

  39. @ Pema

    I don’t think Tenzing Rigden was hired as an advisor over policies. Lets be clear, he was hired as a Press officer.

    And whats this about “character” being in question. Every sitting government has people who agree and disagree. Just because you don’t agree on something doesn’t mean you can’t work together.

    Does it have to be so bad that just because you don’t agree with someone’s policies or some of the things he did or said, means you don’t have anything to do with the person?

    If this is how politics in Bhutan should be, I am truly worried about how far we will go – forget ten years- but even two years from now.

    And whether the regime is good for the country or not, it is what the people have voted for and that is why they are there.
    Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean EVERYONE has to either.

    Bipartisanship and this sort of miring in hateful politics is what has held back many poor, highly illiterate populated countries in South Asia from moving forward.

    This kind of Dirty/Petty politics, just because their parties didn’t get voted in, is what has been the fall of many Democracies in the third world.

    While you blame Tenzing Rigden, there are other’s think the same of you. Who is correct only time will tell.

    • Aha, Sonam Ongmo speaks with such authority of the DPT government. Judge my comments for facts. I am not for PDP but I am for democracy in Bhutan.

  40. Policies, of course, are made by the PM and the cabinet ministers. But the Press Officer is the one who communicates and promotes those policies to the people. So if you differ from the PM on some of the major issues like CDG, how can you promote his decisions and policies? Therefore, people will start questioning your integrity, character, and moral values.

    To have a successful Democracy the government has to listen to the people. They have to remain true to “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” By bulldozing constitutionally questionable programs like CDG, MP’s pay raise, intimidating BBS and media, etc., I don’t know if the present government is really serious about building a strong foundation for multiparty Democracy. It certainly looks like they are doing a lot to ensure that DPT rules Bhutan for generations to come.

  41. I think the best way to resolve this impass is to request RCSC commissioners to come forward and say whether or not it is lawful/correct or unlawful/incorrect procedure for PM office to hire officials without following civil service rules.

    Cheers

    • Thinlay, since it’s beyond the domain of the civil service, RCSC will not have any comment on this issue.

      • I agree with Phuntsho. If JYT is serious about zero tolerance to corruption, it must start with him at the helm.

        If he believes in strong foundation for democracy, he is at the driver’s seat now. Why send his wife and wives of other MPs and ministers to villages at the expense of public money to campaign. Be good, do good, and DPT will rule the land and we will have no objections. It does not matter whether DPT forms the government or other party forms the government with good intentions for the people of this country, but don’t say one thing and do opposite.
        Zero tolerance to corruption?
        Reviewing PCS?
        Banning live media?
        gagging the civil liberties of the civil servants by legislating no criticism of the government?
        CDG (2 million per year) and discretionary funds ( 1 lakh per MP, 2 lakh per minister and 3 lakhs for the PM)?
        State funding for the parties?
        ….
        … and so on.

  42. But if it is outside the jurisdiction of RCSC then my question is why OL is unnecessarily raising the issue. If direct recruitment is allowed based on certain established norm then i think we should respect that. personally, i feel that PM office is staffed by officials selected by PM and we should live with that. As head of elected government PM should at least have that privelage to work with people he wants to work with. The staff position is there as long as PM stays in the office. In other words, it is a temporary post and the next PM may decide not to hire the present staffs.

    Cheers

    • True but the argument is is there a conflict of interest. Yes, PM has absolute majority in the NA and he can do almost anything. It is scary. Pl think media, politics, conflict of interests, democracy, political corruption, nexus between media as the 4th estate and the government. The issue is not simply our PM hiring T.R.

  43. speculationman says:

    i am just wondering why the media is not covering this issue. is it becasue TR is using his influence not to?????????? i dont know

    • Media is theoretically independent. Practically – they have to get advertisments from government, they have to be paid, they have make money for their shareholders.

  44. 10000eyes says:

    good for me and bad for nation. anything is possible in bhutan…. even pigs can fly in bhutan said by dasho kinley Dorji.
    i am hopping within DPT’s tenure i may hold the post of secretary, though i am class 12 dropout. what a position to hold due to the luck and grace of DPT.no interview, no announcement of post…only after my appointment they will announced that 10000eyes have been appointed as seceretary of such ministry and he have done master from oxford….. wow…. what a qualification and post to hold…..
    RCSC please announce the post of caretaker openly… other you do in darkness.. what a nice to progress… result- many potholes road, house cracked after a day of handtaking ETC……. and nice and well maintained office.

  45. I see people who are debating on this tropic are highly educated people. But it’s not difficult even for a half educated man like me to understand the character of the person we are discussing here. To me Mr. Rigden, appears to be fickle,opportunistic,unreliable and spineless because he said that he disagreed on many core issues of the JYT administration like CDG etc. and yet willing to work with PM as his PO. How can someone who has such huge difference in fundamental issues and idealogy work work together without compromising your voice and opinion. I think, the moment Mr Rigden accepts the post of PO, his own voice and opinion,if he had any, is gone of supressed for good. This is truly unfortunate that such brillent man had to trade his freedom of thoughts and believe to somebody else for power,money or whatever. Forgive me,my English is very limitted.

  46. My guess is that TR may not have traded his principle for fame or fortune. But it must be his desire to streamline the media-public-politician linkage. If this is the case, then it is good that PM has chosen someone with experience in media.

    Individuals may have differences of opinion but it does not mean that we can not work together. Infact, system becomes dynamic and transparent if there are opposing views in a system. Thorough debate can take place on issue, if there is conflicting views in a same party or office, before such issue is put up into public domain.

    Cheers

  47. Our media is still very weak and they have not been asking tough questions to the government. Yet, it seems the government wants our media to write what it wangts to and skip what it does not want to. If that is what T.R is delegated to write, it is going to cut a sorry face for our democracy. Let us be the agent of positive change that we want to be.

  48. Yes, Pema. Before trying to change the world, remember you should change yourself first, in other words (My favourite Buddhist saying)
    BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

  49. mr. Ringden, Press officer of honourable P.M. what a name. he is the bell of the government and his job is just to ring the bell near the public ears.
    mr. drups, if the bellman of P>M had disagreed to the core issue….it is nice for him so that he can ring the bell before to alarm the people…. or he will keep his disagreement hidden in his mind…. if he hide than he is cheating himself…. good for him…. he is in the middle of self and dtp….what a story… first he disagree with DPT’s core issue and now he accepted their offer wholeheartedly….i could have done same- out of fear, opportunity…. but educated man could never dare to do……anyway bell ring in time….

  50. Why in the world should I change? If I do, I will end up selling my soul to the devil and supporting a regime I do not believe in.

  51. Sonam Tshering says:

    Haggling over petty matters and that what Bhutanese are known for starting with this blog. Go and do some work that will rather justify your salary at the end of the month. Democracy in Bhutan has taken roots and will surely grow strong and dynamic. It will one day achieve the goals of GNH.

  52. Tshering Thinley says:

    Thats true. Let the government do their work including the Hon’ble PM and his media. Lets not waste our time in this blog discussing things not worth the discussions. For God’s sake they have three more years in office and when the next elections come let the people decide whom to vote for DPT, PDP or any other party. For now, lets do our own bit for the betterment of this country. Lets not waste our valuable time browsing such web sites thats all evil minded.

  53. Thinlay, if diversity of views and opinions are important, T.R. had the best opportunity to contribute, most meaningfully, to our nation and our young democracy as a good journalist and executive of Bhutan’s first private newspaper. As you know, for everyday citizens, print and TV media provides the most effective forum to participate in national debates.

    Also, I don’t think a Press Officer (PO) will be invited to weigh in his opinions and views in the National Assembly hall and cabinet meetings where important debates take place and important decisions are made. As a PO, he will be government’s mouthpiece to convey what’s already decided. And as a part of the team, I don’t think it will be possible for T.R. to express his differing opinions and views publicly. He’ll not have that freedom and independence anymore.

    Furthermore, now T.R. cannot go back to join any media organization. He has clearly made his choice and has publicly joined the DPT side. He has lost the credibility and people’s trust as a free and independent thinker and writer. What a shame and a big loss. T.R. is a great writer and he could have played an important role as a national leader (possibly earning a national award) in our media sector that has a crucial role to play in strengthening our democracy at this important juncture.

  54. Hon’ble OL: What happened to the earlier comments? Please restore them. This is a hot topic and has generated a lot of comments.

  55. Thank you, Hon’ble OL. I found the earlier comments.

  56. karma 1,
    That was exactly what I wanted say but couldn’t form words. I too think Mr Rigden’s career as a free and indepentent thinker journalist is gone for good,unless he comes out with a some kind of book like President Bush’s ex PO did by resigning from the post, and writing a book disagreeing Bush’s policy. Even if he did that,I see a slime chance of resurrecting his career as a free and independent journalist,that he was once, in the future.
    Someone from the earlier comment said that he can still be a PO and yet be independent thinker. Well, I don’t think so-going by what other PO do in other countries they just parrot whatever the the president or prmie minister say. I think PO just don’t have the liberty to opine on any of the policies passed by pm and his cabinet.
    I just wonder how an intelligent man like Mr Rigden got duped into destroying his own bright future. What’s so facinating about PO,anyway? With his,intelligence,knowledge and influence,he could have become anything he wanted in Bhutan,if only he had little patience. PM may not have done it deliberately, but I think he completely destroyed the bright future of Mr Rigden. Other people may disagree but I even think that by appointing Mr Rigden as his PO, he has undermined the freedom of press as well,because Mr Rigden in his comment on this post says that he has cousins,brothers and good friends running and heading the other media organizations like BTimes,BToday etc. So I don’t think journalists and press from those papers will feel free to express their opinions without comprising their free thinking for so many reasons. For one Mr Rigden is a senior journalists and most of the journalists are young,who at one point worked under Mr Rigden, and some may consider him even their guru or mentor. And not many dare to go against the words and advice of gurus,specially in Bhutan where we give undue respect to elders ,regardless of whether they deserve it or not.

  57. 10000eyes says:

    hi, sonam tshering and thinley tshering,
    i respect your comments,we and you are not just debating on the issue, with self-motive. i am not right person to comment on you, however i feel that it is my duty to speak out that black is black.. not black is white.
    i just want to ask…did you vote in 2008? if so you have every right to speak to them.
    do you think three years is three days? what could happened if DPT continue these trend? how can you say that democracy is rooted firmly in our nation?
    we won’t interfere DPT government if they do democratically?
    they appointed PO in darkness? now a days even post of sweeper is done through open competition why not P>O. something is there… what no one knows???????
    mr.rigden… keep your opinion or difference inside your mind, after 10 years publish your opinion and difference by then it is finished. i respected you,now lost everything.
    speak lies of DPT truly/sincerely….after than laugh inside yourself….

  58. Pema Karpo says:

    For the benefit of others, I copy and paste Tenzin Rigden’s comments here. He disagrees with the policies of the government, he was one of the organisers of solidarity walk (a strike calling Bhutanese people over government’s handling of deaths of six boys in Chhukha), he questioned the legality of CDG, banning of live BBS from NA hall, state funding of parties, and now he has accepted the role of being a P.O for the very government(whose policy he disgarees with) and many of his cousins, friends and colleagues are owners and practioners of media in Bhutan.

    Please think and tell me this is a petty case. Isn’t T.R prostituting? Isn’t our government buuying off the media sector in Bhutan?

    With due respect to all the views expressed here, let me try to set the record straight – not so much to exonerate myself as it is to ensure that other people, along the way, are not undeservedly hurt.
    • A month or so after leaving Bhutan Times, I was asked if I could help establish an effective communication system between the government and the people by proactively engaging the news media. I was told the rationale was to make the government machinery and its functioning as transparent as possible. It was also made explicitly clear that my responsibility was not to “spin” things but to report events as they transpire so that Bhutanese people get nothing but the truth. To reinforce this standpoint, I was even told that if I, while discharging my functions, in anyway felt my own principles and integrity were compromised I could walk out any time.
    • I could not take an instant decision. To be frank, I was in a Catch-22. By then I had started a small publishing firm, manned by seven writers and designers. I could not possibly walk out and make them fend for themselves. But, then, if I had my hands in both, it possibly could give rise to conflict of interest (even if not now, eventually).
    • An even bigger dilemma I had to grapple with was my own reservations. I questioned if I had the capability – and the capacity – to shoulder such a huge responsibility. By my reckoning, the job wasn’t simple enough – in many ways, it was about ensuring transparency and accountability in a democracy. What if I failed? What if I let the expectations down? The consequences of inefficiency were frightening!
    • Given these reasons plus my fragile health, I kept on sidestepping the proposition for so long that the procrastination wasn’t helping anybody. So, a month ago, I suggested that I might, through a short stint of a few months or at the most up to a year, try HELP establish a system in which the government can positively, proactively and transparently inform the nation through the media. The PM clearly said, and rightfully so, that my appointment should be announced through the media. But I was not ready yet – I needed to OBSERVE various situations firsthand to make up my mind.
    • As to my background, I started my career in Kuensel in 1993 and resigned in 2002 end, after 10 years. In 2003, I started Bhutan Media Services (BMS), a small advertising firm, the assets of which were merged with Bhutan Times after the formation of the newspaper company in 2006. BT surrendered the BMS license in 2007. With due permission from the BT management, a former BT staff revived BMS (in the latter half of 2008 or early 2009, I am not sure) but I have no stake, financial or otherwise, there. In 2008 I invested Nu 200,000 (a portion of the money that I received as dividend from BT) as share in the Institute for Management Studies (IMS). Two months ago, I relinquished this ownership in favour of my elder brother. As far as my latest venture is concerned I, along with some friends, started a small publishing firm, known as Thinley Pelbar.
    • Regarding bias in executing the responsibility as press officer, it is up to you to judge. But here are the facts – worked in Kuensel for 10 years; started and ran BT for three years (yes, I still own 10% BT shares if there is any value at all now); the owner of Bhutan Today is my first cousin and its CEO my nephew; the editors of Business Bhutan are friends and former BT employees; the entire news team of The Journalist, as you know, comprises former BT news team (by the way, I have no ownership or control there); and, finally, the MD of Bhutan Observer is one of my closest friends (you can check if you don’t believe.)
    • Now, my political inclinations. I am accused of having used the BT newspaper to run anti-PDP and pro-DPT stories. On this, a) Please check the report of a European Union team which did an independent analysis of media reporting of political stories in Bhutan on the eve of elections; and , b) Talk to BT editors and reporters how huge a sway, if at all, I had in deciding the editorial content of the paper.
    If I recall well, BT was the first paper to raise the issue of the constitutionality of state funding for political parties, and BT’s voice against Constituency Development Grant was one of the loudest among the media circles. Similarly, BT was the first to write on the black-out of the live TV coverage of National Assembly and adopt an editorial position against the decision. Finally, please don’t forget that I am one of those who supposedly attained infamy for the Solidarity Walk.
    Citing these points, of course, is not intended to portray myself as a PDP supporter; all I am saying is that we must all be discerning and not follow political leaders and political ideologues blindly.
    • Lastly, some factual corrections. 1) The machine in BT press in Jemina which did not work was not bought for Nu 2 crores but for Nu 55 lakhs. As the supplier did not make it functional, we withheld the payment and eventually sold it for Nu 12.5 lakhs (not 15 lakhs). BT did not incur any loss from this machine. Further, the whole press has been leased out at a very profitable rate of Nu 20 lakhs a year.
    In the first six months of 2009, our unaudited internal accounts reflected a loss of about Nu 52 lakhs which I presented to the board. That was the loss during that period (January to June, 2009.) As of September 30, 2009 – the day I left BT – the company’s books showed an overall positive balance to the tune of Nu 70 to Nu 80 lakhs. We also paid a dividend of Nu 80 lakhs to the shareholders in 2008.
    Please feel free to contact me if any of you have further doubts at:
    Tenzin Rigden
    17110695
    bhutanmedia@gmail.com
    Thimphu

  59. 10000eyes says:

    he has also given his phone nos…. who can call?..17110695. he is DP T’s man! not a bhutantimes CEO…..call him in this nos one could be in big trouble

  60. Ting Ka Rong says:

    Someone told me that he is afraid of writing in this forum because he believes that PO and powerful DPT are trying to find the identity of us, so much for freedom of media and speech.

  61. Dorji from Haa says:

    Do we need a media person for the opposition Leader? Well time for me to join you. When are you calling me OL? I will assure you that the nation knows about what you do, intend to do and much more. ANd if you intend to adverttise the job, I will ensure I get it.

  62. Much a do about nothing

  63. just this once says:

    i don’t know what to say but i would suggest OL to sponsor Right Information Bill with proper outlines so that we can ask for information that Govt seeks to hide.

  64. Puran Gurung says:

    We have all vested our trust unanimously and made it a landslide victory. Most of the time I think the campaigning didn’t go out right.

    The appointment is not a so grave news. It can be anyone. The people should live with attitude to pursue for the truth and to do what is right, then we can know the true Tenzin Rigden. And why should people ever raise an eyebrow towards him throw glances of disdain eyes to him should he the wrecker of BT, he to obvious can’t be the dumb ass of the media when he has the power in the circle for responsibility comes along power.

    It is time we should assert our thoughts and actions the right way as we are marching young towards a system of government that ensures happiness of the people.

  65. Sonam penjor says:

    hey karma penjore, i liked the way you finished off ur words for sonam ongmo.
    whoever and where ever she is, she had convinced us that the jyt is a great politician. sonam ongmo, u r either brain/eye washed by jyt or u r like T.R. PDP supporter in disguise.

  66. Hello World,
    See what type of inhumane brutality is going on with the discriminated people of F-5 in the home of GNH. They deserve to be saved before they extinct.

    “To obtain the citizenship of Bhutan, the following three options are laid out;
    i. Citizenship by birth
    ii. Citizenship by registration
    iii. Citizenship by naturalization.

    Citizenship by birth takes into condition of both parents to be of Bhutanese origin and citizenship.

    Citizenship by registration is for those who have an official record of them being present in Bhutan before 1958.

    Citizenship by naturalization, article 6 of the constitution of the kingdom of Bhutan, from page 9, says a person who applies for citizenship by naturalization should satisfy the following:

    i. Should have lived in Bhutan for more than 15 years
    ii. Should read, write and speak Dzongkha proficiently.
    iii. Should have no record of ever spoken against the tsa-wa-sum
    iv. Should abide by the rules and regulations of the country
    v. Should understand and follow the culture, history and tradition of the country etc.

    The procedure for receiving the citizenship through naturalization follows the following:
    i. First of all, after we apply for naturalization, the committee comprising of high level officers check on the documents and the whole family history.

    ii. Only those who satisfy the conditions of the panel and the constitution are let to attend the interview.

    iii. It is a wait of almost a year when we know we are selected for the interview, and a further wait till our date arrives.

    iv. In the interview, the whole family needs to be present. In the interview, the whole family needs to be present including children of any age. Incase, if any one of the member is absent due to any reason including sudden unfortunate mishap, then this whole family is disqualified for the interview. However, they will be asked to attend next time with a reminder to make sure that every member is present.

    v. We are asked question individually, asked to sing songs, hymns etc. in the national language.

    vi. All are also asked to write some words or two in the national language too.
    This is my story, of a typical person engulfed in census problems… There are many others like me who are drawn in just like me and we know all the census measures government has taken to regulate the problem. I have my friends who do not know which form they are in when I say I m f-5, they muse and ask “what form”? its typical of those who have no census problems and I don’t blame them too. The only problem arises when they look at us with shady eyes as if we have a dragger hidden beneath our dress. So my story, which tells the similar story of hundred others is to clear the minds that we are not in bad faith and we are stuck in this dilemma where we cant do anything to improve our lives.

    The white patches of cloud shades the blue sky above the last Shangri-La and as well, the dark clouds hover over some of its residents, regarded only as the specially permitted.
    It’s been almost two decades that my grandfather has been frequenting to the Tashichhoddzong to board on to the flight of citizenship ID but even the glimmer of hope seen in the first step fades away when the next step is too high to reach. This is my story, a self financed graduate of 24 years of age. I had my class XII marks to get in college for higher studies with royal government’s aid, but my special residential permit denied me that time. I did my graduation from India and now again, I seem to get nowhere. My census problem aroused when my grandfather could not produce an official record of his presence in the country before 1958. However, he produced village heads record and there statement to the census officers stating that if they are false the government may punish them according to the law of the land including life imprisonment showing he was present before 1958, but that was not entertained and it can clearly be understood, People may fake some records. My grandparents didn’t give up. Since then, from 1990, my grandpa has been visiting Tashichhoddzong and to some extent, he was successful to have been short listed and appeared interview. Photograph of whole family was taken in presence of the panel of judges signifying we are all qualified. But this interview bore no significance as he is still rounding up and visiting to the Dzong/ zimpons office hoping that some day his almost two decades of hard work may bear fruit for his offsprings. It should be noted that he served the armed force for 3 decades.

    Five years thence……..

    From the Far East like merak and sakten to the central north of Zhemgang, western tip of Haa and southern points like Dorokha, groups of people seem to share this common bond. According to the constitution of Bhutan to obtain the citizenship of naturalization, interviews were attended in front of a delegate of distinguished home ministry officials. This is not at all new, and in the previous years, after approximately about two years, the cases were settled, that is whoever passed through the interview, the citizenship was granted and those who didn’t, they were not.. For families whoever attended the interview after 2005 which also includes my family, they have not been clarified with the queries whether their pleas have been rejected or approved and are still waiting, save for those who seemed to have slipped through with some push and pull….!
    I would think I am not the only one sharing this problem, there are many who face the same and this would calm me down to sleep, but recently some developments made it clear that I m lagging behind with the basic fundamental rights.
    The wait can be understood, the government and the ministry has a lot of work to do. There are lots of families, lots of information, case histories to be dug out and not to forget the usual works to be done at the ministry which may slow down the progress. But what I don’t understand and what made me pour myself to the forum is the following, what about those wealthy and high official foreign citizens who are “gifted” citizenship of Bhutan without attending an interview, nor have they lived in the country for even a decade, nor do they know even half of what we know about Bhutan, nor can they speak in Dzongkha, leave alone singing prayers and songs. Is there any amendment which the public doesn’t know of it yet, or is it simply that they are above the law? Well you may say they must have done some good work, but I have read every nook of the constitution, and no article states the same. I can understand if Father McKay was given citizenship, he did a very great deal of service to the country. People like him deserve citizenship without any hindrance, but what great work has those people done who have married to wealthy people or high officials, or was that the great thing?? You need not crumble your forehead to dig out examples; it is laid out in open. These facts thus culminate into a major gap that has to be filled in this regard. The democratic public may not be able to digest such a major gap in the actual running of constitution, and this truly calls for a fast approached amends in this regard. Why Bhutanese are made non-Bhutanese and why are non-Bhutanese made Bhutanese with so much an ease?

    I have a family of clean records, the only gap that of my grandfather who cannot prove “officially” that he was in the country prior to 1958 during 1990 national census, but my parents, I and my siblings were born on this soil. We really are indebted to the government for allowing the same, but what now?? We are stuck in between the pan and the fire. What is my fault here? I have adapted to the rules, regulations, culture, tradition all my life till now… why am I wronged to feel I am a Bhutanese citizen and why am I being segregated still, even after applying for citizenship by naturalization, which in itself is an irony as I and my parents were born in this very land of the thunderbolt.
    Fact file:

    It is really a very alarming word to speak out but I will convince you that “Bhutanese constitution infuses gender discrimination to the weaker sex”. In census, if a Bhutanese man marries a foreign lady, there is no citizenship problem for their offspring. But if a Bhutanese lady is married to a non Bhutanese man, then hell breaks loose. Their children are denied citizenship, and as is my topic, even if they apply for citizenship by naturalization, they have to sit an endless wait. So is this not gender discrimination??
    Recent development is provision of the small green-ID card for the Special residential permit holders. But these too are given to only those whose parents have married before 1985 and I m clearly not in the league, hence I carry the paper form of special residential permit. Again, its an irony when the children of my fathers friends who were born after 1990 are carrying the SRP card !!!! and most shocking they have marriage certificate after 1985 only. Home ministry may not agree but it’s a fact n true!!!!!!

    On in personal terms, a just passed graduate with an aggregate more than enough to land up a job in the government, I have been running from one government offices and corporations to another for the past one year. But I was returned back as my “special residential permit-in paper” did not comply with their needs. The next thing, a visit to the dzong is a default choice for families like ours though the visit every time yields the same answer of. “Your case is being forwarded”. And if this statement was not enough, scolding and humiliating statements like “who told your grandmother to marry a citizen of other country”, or “ask your parent why this, that” etc. are put on us. We don’t have anything to reply to this, nobody realizes that we are frequenting the administrative offices to mend or cover up for the mistakes/faults that anybody in the family has committed if any. Instead of helping us, they scold us for inheriting those faults and for being born in the family which we so treasure a lot.
    But no, what we do is just inherit the accusations without a chance to mend it.
    My parents are not residents of the capital and for me to search the job and to visit the Dzong requires me to stay at a relatives place. Now I m beginning to smell their frustration and irritation on me being in their house, not that they are wrong in it!! Who would want an unemployed adult at his house just eating away free cereal??

    After so long a wait, an abrupt halt comes to our requisition, letters, visits to the dzong to ascertain our status when the head of the concerned department or ministry says, “Your case is being processed, you will get your results soon”, or “we have forwarded your requisition, we did the most we can do, we don’t know of any new developments yet, when we do, we will inform you, please wait..”. But how soon is the waiting of more than 20 years, how soon is the processing and how long is the forwarding when the wait exceeds four years, how soon is it?

    We know the ministry officials /zimpoens too get an eye sore seeing us every other day, and we understand the difficulties for them, but the problem is no one has an exact and correct answer to our queries. If they give an exact solution or a fixed date, who would knock on their doors time and again? Like a very heavy bag between coolies, where every coolie refuses to carry it, we are forwarded from one department to another, one officer to another and after a full circle, we at last reach again to the very first official we met in the morning, and all the wait in the long queue, knocking on the doors, requests, pleas go in vain, and we return home dejected. We don’t even have a higher authority to go to. The highest ones are hard to meet, and when they do, they just give an encouraging but nonexistent statement and date.

    While applying to the college after I was not eligible to royal government scholarships, my admission was halted for a while as I lacked proper citizenship identity. At those few moments, I was a citizen of no country. With persuasion and explanations, we were granted admission. Nobody else, other than the ones who carry the paper which declares us as citizen with residential permit know the embarrassment, humiliation, fright we feel when showing the paper in India, or in offices, checkpoints, institutions within Bhutan. A constant fear lingers in our mind when we cross into Bhutan from India through the border gates. On seeing a policeman. I sometimes just can’t stop thinking if the policeman may just lock me up while crossing the border, or even when roaming in town coz of my documents. Thank God and those policemen who have not inflicted me with those horrors.

    Nobody, except the ones that carry the paper (The proof saying we are citizens with special residential permit), know the embarrassment, humiliation, fright one has to endure while showing the “virtual” citizenship document in gates, offices, institutions… only we know the pain….

    I had lots of friends in college and usually used to return home with them in groups. There were lots of friends who had the citizenship card and some who didn’t. I used to carry a file as I feared the paper which was my only entry through gates of Bhutan may get damaged. Once after crossing the Kharbandi check point between Thimphu and Phuentsoling where we were asked to show id card and as I showed my paper from the file, my friend told me, “I feel something, something uncomfortable when I see u carrying the file and showing the paper while we show a small card”. It was a sympathetic comment. She didn’t notice but a small moisture enveloped my eyes, and I thought if only……………………..

    Recent developments:
    DPT government has it seems tried to come to a little rescue. From what I hear, some 3 member tshogpas have been appointed to probe the presence of residents prior to 1958. From what I have seen and heard, our village and the neighbouring villages have not a whiff of these developments . This can be due to LG elections but its been all over now and it has not been resumed yet but I m optimistic that it will soon continue and will be over by this year end.

    In conclusion I would like to let u know that my grandfather now is 74yrs. My dad 48yrs. With SRP card n myself 24yrs. With SRP time bound paper. This is not an article showing sword to the governing body, but it’s an appeal to look through the procedure we have been through and do the needful. Its not that we are asking neither citizenship to be given automatically nor are we asking for any type of decree which will guarantee our citizenship. We have gone through a procedure which has taken a lot of not only our time and money, but also the governments, so what I, on behalf of all those who face the similar problem am asking is just to follow through on what was started legally, n issue us our identity constitutionally.”

  67. Honourable Opp. Leader thank you for your information…i didn’t knew about that…

    But here i’m asking wether it is my fault or lack of information in this so called democratic country…I dont know:

    I’m not big fan of this system governance instead was happy under monarchy…because i can’t see any changes in the system,execpt election of MPs.We still lack freedom of mass media, lack of demostration and opinion…

  68. Super Criminal says:

    If this appointment is not good, what is good in Bhutan? I don’t have much idea about the current issue but it’s really heart breaking. yes, who is paying him? How can we trust our government the the head of government appoints someone blindly and paid handsomely? One shouldn’t be alarmed to hear about RUPEE CRUNCH. And do not be astounded when you hear another story of critical economic crises. 45 people are more than enough to sale off about 38,000 sq.km of land.

  69. Media in Bhutan is disappointing till now. Shouldering as a backbone role of democracy, had shared nothing but news of crops being lost to preys, roads not maintained…bla..bla… Media had never reached the people when are needed…it had never bridged between government and people. Sensitive issues are not being exploited which are credible to the individual…Remember there are infinate self proclaimed so called Journalist, Editors in Media House whose positon of professionalism are clearly being printed in papers when it comes to quality of news and langauge…

  70. How can a Press Officer for the PM be one of the owner’s of a newspaper? This seems to compromise both his position as an independent publisher and as a press officer. Before taking up such a post shouldn’t he have at least completely divested himself of any other media interests?

  71. Constitution says:

    I wish I could go through all the comments here but I could see what is going on in this Opposition Leader’s blog: This is just a complete Political gimmick to sensitize the people around by way of expressing their like and dislike of a political party.

    This is something I as a peace loving Bhutanese citizen do not wish to have in this land of thunder Dragon…More you do it more the people gets divided… for instance, I could see innocent people getting killed by party supporters in West Bengal almost everyday……….so please Mr. O L, I would rather request you to raise the issue large chunks of people getting affected by Mining Activities rather mudslinging in Political Gimmick, which may serve a surprise package for ur next election…. good luck…

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