Good news

Shortly after the editor and six reporters had collectively and suddenly resigned from Bhutan Times, Wangcha Sangey, the Chairman and CEO of the newspaper, promised that he would not disappoint his readers.  And, true to his word, he has not disappointed. In the barely two days since the mass resignations, he, with help from K4 Media, has turned out a 32-page newspaper that is actually better than some of its previous issues.


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  1. For my country Bhutan, that was a very bad news. It reflects that “free journalism” is murdered in its very infancy and will not be reborn in our country any sooner.

    For Bhutan Times, that was a good news. The newspaper is not doomed yet.

    So, good news or bad news, it depends on who you care for- Bhutan as a country, or the Bhutan Times as a company!

  2. Good news or bad news, its just a perception. In my view, the story is BT employees is yet another proof that human capital in our country is considered as just mere machines, not assets.

  3. Anyway, I thought the story of the elephant rock was just a waste of time and an excuse to fill up some pages.

    After BT hit the rock bottom, the new CEO has every right to interfere or intervene in any way he wishes to revive the company. It is how one percieves it.

  4. Almost all the writing featured in the last issue were merely crap – compiled from the writings of what seems to be the only coterie of presumed writers in the country! It served to filled in the pages and bring out an issue. Of aeroplanes, funny and rehashed take-ons on GNH, and even more bizzare – sightings of elephants on rock faces! Seemed more to me like somebody’s blog!

  5. Karma S. Phuntsho says

    Hon’ble Lyonpo,

    Isn’t this political interference from your side? It interests me when you say “……has turned out a 32-page newspaper that is actually better than some of its previous issues.”

    I am sorry if I am misunderstanding this Good News.

    • The “good news” is that a newspaper, our country’s first private paper and the only one with public shareholdings, did not succumb. Without even considering who is right and who is wrong, it was important that the newspaper continued.

      I stand by my statement that “….has turned out a 32-page newspaper that is actually better than some of its previous issues.” People may not agree with me. And they are entitled to their views. As, indeed, I am entitled to mine.

      “Political interference”? If commenting on the state of the media is interference, then let many more interfere, politicians and others. Only good can come out of honest comments.

  6. I do not agree with OL comment. Bhutan times had better earlier version. I am totally taken aback by CEO letter to BICMA and his comment on GNH. He should first improve his mgt. style and his perception of Bhutanese and Bhutanese society. Instead of CEO describing Bht. as rustic, the other way round is apt description of CEO.


  7. i found another K4 media on the net. plz clarify me if this K4 media and that of BT’s new team are same.

    K4 Media
    Founded: 1999
    Headquarters: Phnom Penh
    Founder and CEO: Robert Starkweather
    Company Status: Privately held company

    • So there’s more than one K4 Media! The K4 Media you refer to is not the one that is employed by Bhutan Times. The one that they did employ is a private company in Thimphu. It was started and is owned by some journalists.

  8. I really appreciate what Bhutan Times and specially the CEO came out with at the time they were betrayed by their own. It was a good issue, cant say better but at least similar to usual issues.

    I believe, we need such kind of people like Wangcha Sangay and also the K4 media (for supporting him). I would love to see more people like him, who at least is bold enough to express his opinion ( to which he has constitutional rights). Kudos, you encourage us and many more.

    In a system where, your bosses and the culture keep you supressed and dominated, its a pleasure witnessing birth of such people.

    We need such people in bureaucracy, specially in my kind office, where the Secretary is literally s**t.

  9. I thought our medias had roles to not only keep the citizens within the country informed but also those who are living outside. As the only means to keep connected, concerned citizens keep their eyes glued at the websites of every print media and the only broadcast media.
    But look at Bhutan Times website. I don’t know what the cause could be..but we only want the news uploads on time.

  10. Honorable OL, what do you have to say to the following?


    Bhutan must be the only country in the entire known world where a newspaper of national standing is published not by its own in-house editorial team of editors and reporters, but by outsourcing the work to a bunch of writers/reporters of a media consultancy firm.

    That is precisely what the Bhutan Times newspapers has been doing for their past two issues; getting some outside writers to fill in for their editor and six reporters who resigned from the paper en mass – in protest against the supposed infringement on their independence by the paper’s CEO – Wangcha Sangey.

    Is such a thing permitted by law? Can a national level newspaper be allowed to be printed and circulated with work performed on their behalf by some hired consultants who are not in their payroll? Isn’t there a set criterion for printing a newspaper? Obviously there is because, otherwise, BICMA would not have questioned the BT over the staffing details of their news room – upon resignation of a majority of their editorial staff.

    So, is BICMA satisfied with the response of the BT CEO Wangcha Sangey? The dateline of 30th October is long past. Has the BT come up with a list of qualified reports and editors to bring out the weekly paper? If they have not, why is action not taken? Why is the government so tolerant about someone who has the audacity to challenge the authority of a government agency that has been duly empowered to regulate media in Bhutan?

    Is the DPT government being lenient because it owes money to BT? Is this indication that the DPT government can be corrupted so cheaply? Beyond their party interests, doesn’t the DPT have a responsibility to ensure that a national newspaper is headed by a person of integrity and responsibility and one who does not go about using his paper to publish audacious remarks against the government and its lawful agency?

    If it is true that Wangcha Sangey did usurp the editorial independence and integrity of the erstwhile editorial team of the BT, then it is a shame that K4 Media should even consider teaming up with Wangcha Sangey – let alone work for him. In doing so, the team at the K4 Media has demonstrated that firstly, they have no qualms about compromising their own dignity and independence for a fistful of tainted money and, secondly, that they do not care for the laudable attempts by some of their fraternity to fight for upholding the freedom, uprightness and the independence of the press.

    It is a pity that most of us had considered Tashi P. Wangdi as a reputable journalist of many years standing. All I can say is that his ongoing support to a person of Wangcha Sangey’s morality is proof that he is someone grossly overrated and unduly eulogized for the journalistic principals that he is credited with but that, which is now apparent, is anything BUT!

    Never mind that Tashi P. Wangdi would have a host of reasons to offer us why he finds it expedient to work for Wangcha Sangey, least of which will be the allure of money, and yet, no doubt he knows that he will be identified by the company he keeps. And, going by all that I read in the forums, Wangcha Sangey seems like one deplorable person from whom you should run away as if the King Kong was on your tail.

    • Hey, where r you coming from? Do you think a team of reporters can fall from the sky in just a couple of weeks? Do you think Bhutan and Bhutan govt. (DPT) has become so inhuman that it would just shut down a company? How many people will it affected if the company is shut down? Do you think govt. or the BICMA should still stick to rules and let the citizens who have invested in the company face the loss? Which one do you think should come first people or rules? Can you judge a person just by an incident? Do you think money is the only thing that is in Bhutanese minds? Do you think everyone should turn it back on a fall company? Do you think a person living in foreign land would be affected mentally and forget all he was that in Bhutan?
      Well those I think those are some question you ask before the other questions that are in your comment…. all the best.

  11. tripped out says

    That one says it all, Tangba!

    It is about standing up to what you believe in. And life offers rare chances as this. The BT editorial team did the right thing by resigning en masse. They stood up to what they believed in.

    The saddest part for them was that the whole of media fraternity were against them. Bhutan Today wrote an astounding editorial literally asking ‘is this the stuff BT journalists are made of.” Well, what stuff are the Today reporters made of; the whole nation knows! (Sorry but could not help it!)

    And the BT editorial Tashi P wangdi wrote that issue was a mouthpiece of the new CEO. Please don’t talk about principles!

    A BT insider shared, the editorial team had even made its stand clear the first day the new CEO joined office. That they would not want any interference from him but they were committed to bringing out a good issue every week. As they have always tried.

    If things were left to that, all this hullabaloo would not have seen the light of day.

    Unfortunately, the CEO must have felt that was a direct challenge to his authority. He must have felt he was not welcomed. He needed to push things around. He needed to establish his power over the editorial.

    And, consequently, he kept nagging the editorial team. Firstly, he wanted a printed copy of every story filed by the reporters. That was not acceptable to the reporters, not just because it was unethical but from the business point, it was a waste of resources.

    He could do away with the tea citing cost cutting and have the audacity to tell this to another news paper but what about using papers? In addition, has anybody asked how much the new CEO is earning?

    If he had all the good intentions of ‘salvaging’Bhutan Times, it was also morally correct to take a little lesser than what the old MD was paid. If he had done that, he would have been a hero by then. But…

    AS for K4 media jumping into the scene as the “saviour’, I would not less agree with Tangba.

    It’s indeed a business prospect for the K4. Please, let’s not talk about journalism, principles and ethics.

    It’s a double edged sword.They get the money and they establish their image as a group of responsible people who came to rescue BT when its own seven “traitors” abandoned.

    Maybe some people think the BT issues taken out by K4 media is much better than the earlier issues. Let’s put this in the right context.

    I would not go all over praising K4 for bringing out a ‘damn good’ issue. Because the fact is the issue wasn’t any better. Any sensible reader of BT knows that! Filling up a newspaper isn’t difficult. To say the least.

    I would rather say they did an excellent job by taking out a Sunday issue within the limited time they were given. That deserves appreciation!

    The nation knows Tashi P wangdi is a good writer. Possibly the best we have. I personally admire and look up to him as a “writer”. But that does not influence my decision, to pass an objective judgement. Even if i were his close buddy, I would say what is right. Call spade a spade Honorbale OL! But again, it’s our own personal views.

    Whatever happened in Bhutan times was unfortunate. I would truly like to believe, the editorial team left because they were suffocated in an environment where they was no room for breathing freel

  12. hon’ble lyonpo,
    2 weeks after the editorial team left bhutan times , BT has been able to bring out the paper but the quality of journalism & editorials have been very poor. hope they will tide over the troubles.
    i still remember the brutally honest & truthful editorials like- dammed be the brains( read dammed be the edotorials now), in the name of … amongst others.
    i know BT will tide over the troubles and take us to its glory days and beyond.

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