The short entry about the appointment of Tenzin Rigden as the PM’s media advisor generated some long and heated discussions. Very good.

But now what?

First, the media must beware. By Tenzin Rigden’s own admission he has deep connections in the media:

… 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.)

Tenzin Rigden is indeed well-connected. He’s also respected, and commands considerable influence in the media. And if he agrees to work as the PM’s media advisor, that’s his business. It’s just not good for the media. So beware.

And second, the Anticorruption Commission must look into how the PM’s office recruited their press officer. Was the position approved legally? And was the recruitment conducted according to established procedure?

The ACC has not yet responded to my request to investigate the recruitment of the four DPT party workers in the PM’s office. But, that won’t prevent me from lodging another complaint.


Facebook Comments:


  1. Tshering, I am surprised that despite the arguments laid forth, you still think that Tenzing Rigden’s media connections should be dangerous. For the appointment of such a post anywhere else in the world, it would be a prerequisite that the person have good media connections, so why not in Bhutan?

    If it is a problem with Tenzing having shares/stakes in the media then that might be more questionable and something to talk about, but to harp about his media background really does not make any sense.

    I would like to know what ACC has to say about this.

  2. Miss Sonam Ongmo,

    Sorry again but I just can’t help wondering why you are so good at missing the points of what people are talking about. It is not about whether or not Tenzin Rigden has good media connections or about his versatality in Bhutanese journalism. More importantly, it is all about doing it the right way. Righteousness. Why didn’t they announce the position in the media for a fair selection? If he was chosen after the selection was held, and perhaps he will be chosen because of his vast experience in the media world in Bhutan, that will not be a surprise but since he was appointed without any interviews or selections, that is the big issue here and people are askings questions about it. It amazes me to see that a journalist like you do not seem to have the brains to grab the essence of even some common simple things that a lay man like myself can understand without even using my half shrunken old brain.

    Peace out.

  3. MR, RINGDEN proudly feels that he is right person to ring the bell, inform the people…when he says that he has worked 10 years for kuensel bla.. bla….bla. what has it to do with his present job? just to talk what DPT talks to the media, eat what DPT eats inform of media and public.
    no analysing, no opinion, no critical thinking.
    when he says that he has connection to all the newspaper house.. this is why DPT government appointed him as a PO. WHY??????????????? everyone has answer for it.
    look in the advertisement page in any newspaper of our country…. you see post of caretaker advertised… why? why not the post of P.o.
    i don’t want to know what ACC has to say- coz ACC was punched by DPT government on the face and lost its teeth. they lost the teeth given by our beloved kings.
    now i doubt they can’t even big me… a simple man……
    what do you think compatriots…

  4. clarification… now i doubt they can’t even bit me… bit not big

  5. Pema Karpo says

    OL, if I were you, I would not take this to ACC. Educate the people of Bhutan and let the verdict be passed by them. T.R by his own acceptance has media connections and do not agree with the policies of JYT government and yet take up the position of P.O in this administration. Isn’t something wrong in this? Is he being bribed to suppress his views? He marched against the JYT government in the solidarity walk, he voiced strongly against state funding of political parties, CDG, banning of live coverage of BBS, and now he is going to be the media spokesperson for this administration? I laugh at you, T.R and I laugh at democracy that you and your DPT masters propose for our country.

  6. Bhutanse Monkey says

    This issue is becoming really becoming personal and boring now, i have already read so many arguments!!!


  7. yeah, this issue has really become personalized issue attacking each other through different nick name!!!…..

  8. Dremten Drukpa says


  9. samdrup why you are not using your name? why nick name samdrups. reflect your name, detail address than i and we will follow you. ha ha ha… don’t be stupid, you used to talk sensible before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    here we are talking about democracy… a failing policy!!!!!!
    bhutanese monkey.. i hav

  10. samdrup why you are not using your name? why nick name samdrups. reflect your name, detail address than i and we will follow you. ha ha ha… don’t be stupid, you used to talk sensible before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    here we are talking about democracy… a failing policy!!!!!!
    bhutanese monkey.. i have idea… you not visit this website for week..after that you would be surprised to see more personalized comments/ more intelligent and critical comments… that is democracy!! you be part of it.

  11. 10000eyes…..
    i am not asking for real name la…..same person is using many different nick names to justify their stand and of course to attack others….i am at least using just single nick name…… for ur clarification la!

  12. i hope it does not become like what’s happening in Italy at the moment.

  13. T. Rigden’s appointment to the PM’s office was necessary for many reasons, and it had to be him – not another person.

    (1) His media connection, whether good or bad.He is known within the media circle – but respected or not, that is another question. He let down a lot of people, including journalists, with his mismanagement of BT. He cheated the general public by estimating and selling BT shares at worth of Nu 50 m even though he knew it was not worth 20m.But PM thinks he is the right person for the job.

    (2) Rigden was in the process of forming a third party for the 2013 elections. He was the pivot of the party formation and the first meeting was held in Nov-Dec, 2009. His appointment in the PM’s office ends this party’s aspirations.

    (3) Opposition Leader’s blog.
    PM needs someone to answer to this blog. Someone employed fulltime for the job to counter all allegations against the government.

  14. Ting Ka Rong says

    How cunning can our PM get? And how gullible and brainwashed this tenzin Rigden get? Throw shoes at them.

    Be aware of media coverage of Pm’s activities. It is nothing but campaign for votes.

  15. In another online forum someone has mentioned that even Tshering Gyeltshen, another main person in last year’s Solidarity walk, is working for the PMO.

    There is a suggestion that some of these influential media voices are being bought off by DPT government so that the government, DPT, and their MPs can do as they like.

  16. The likes of T.Rigden and T.Gyeltshen change their sides with opportunity. They will always take side with those in power and with wealth.

    That is so because they themselves are in love with power and wealth.

    If PDP takes over after the 2013 elections, we will see the two of them wooing the PDP.

    Mark my words

  17. More than Tenzing Rigden and Tshering Gyeltshen, I am disappointed with the DPT for hiring them, two of the pioneers of the so called solidarity walk which was meant to be a massive demonstration against the DPT government.

    The criticism DPT is receiving for this silly move of theirs is harming them and will continue to do so until they get rid of these two jokers.

  18. Tshering Jamyang says

    Two of them are said to have lost some 7 millions organising CICCC or something basically through mismanagement. The last I heard that JYT government has absorbed all the losses. A civil servant loses his job for a few thousands and this government is ready to absorb the losses in the order of millions? Isn’t something wrong with this arrangement? Why is the government in power so vent on creating such precedence for the country? Isn’t DPT government buying off dissent with tax payers’ money? Sonam Ongmo as ardent supportor of this regime should rethink and think carefully what this means to all of us and this country. I am genuinely concerned.

  19. This definitely is an area that needs audit and investigation. CICCC was not a loss to the 3 partners. Actually, Tshering Gyeltshen and Dorji Wangchuk made a lot of money by submitting huge bills for LIGHTING, STAGE DECORATION ETC ETC. The only loser was Bhutan Times. I think Bhutan Times will have all the documents to verify to that.

    If the government has absorbed the losses, I smell something fishy.

  20. And the CICCC team is not honoring the support to the CICCC child they promised they would sponsor???????? They false promise they made to the public – to the nation

  21. Accusation 1.Tenzin Rigden has good media connections
    Accusation 2.There was no selection interview
    Rejoinder- The very fact that he has good media connections qualify him for the post and the fact that he was appointed by the PM himself without a selection interview is an indicator of his capabilities which prove him worthy of the post. And good media connections are mandatory for the smooth facilitation of information and business requirements here. It is also a well known fact that TR has always been publicity shy and according to his own words if a selection interview had been held, he would not have applied in the first place.

    Accusation 3.He criticized the DPT government on issues like CDG, supported the Solidarity walk, etc and now he is working for the DPT govt.
    Rejoinder- Certain actions of any govt are criticized by the media and TR did that when he was in the media. But that does not mean that the govt is absolutely corrupted or cannot do better.And if TR recognized the good in it and how he could contribute to it, he cannot be blamed.

    Accusation 4. Speculation about his salary as PM’s media adviser
    Rejoinder- When the MPs can draw a salary of more than Nu. 50,000 with claims(pretext?) of covering constitution visiting expenses and when the Opposition leader can draw a salary at par with the cabinet ministers with apparently so little to do, the PM’s media adviser with all his pressing responsibilities and capability is worthy of receiving a “good/reasonable” pay packet.

  22. The CICCC was planned with the best motives. How many of our people would have thought of celebrating the monarchy that way? But human beings are fallible and mismanagement of finances resulted in tremendous losses for Bhutan Times. However, the intention behind the initiative was praise worthy and if the DPT govt. recognized it and absorbed the losses it is not really a very big or fishy deal. What counts now is TR proves himself in his new post.

  23. Tshering Jamyang says

    You have not understood two very important points.

    First, that the party in power is buying off media and suppressing opposing views and the voices of dissent. This is seriously against JYT being worried about democracy in Bhutan. That is a serious accusation.

    Second, you are saying that Opposition leader is taking same salary as other cabinet ministers? Do you even know the role of opposition?

    Finally, you say CICCC initiatives was praiseworthy. I agree but what I don’t agree are : Mismanagement being rewarded with tax payers’s money. Media and ruling government forming a nexus at the expense of all of us – you and me included.

  24. Tenzin Rigden and the PMO. Everyone is interested! Why not; it is a coveted powerful post anywhere in the world. But is he the Media Manager, Media Advisor of the PM? If he really is Thumbs up to JYT! I am least concerned about “due process” or Tenzin Rigden’s history. (And we all should be). We should be more concerned about the state of Bhutan’s porint media after the dictator SWangcha Sangay walked into Bhutan Times; his temporary arrangement with K4 Media; Bhutan Today blasting BT; Kuensel being ganged up by other media. Did anyone note the type; content; nature ….of news and stories written. And we are a democracy; with the right to information. The people should be well informed; thats what the PMO has to do. But as the PM, the media should be involved in such a way that stories are written as reported. Could the PM But which PM can take the RISK of informing the people when the channels of information are manned; especially at the editorial level by people who could turn glorious news into GORE. The PM will not! Then everyone will start their own mantras on TRANSPARENCY on blogs such as this. So what did JYT do? Picked up Tenzin Rigden to guide and groom the media viz-a-viz, RIGHT TO INFORMATION. Regarding Tenzin Rigden forming a party or JYT benefitting from Tenzin Rigden’s links, it is building a castle in the air. From forum discussions, we can see that more than 80% of the people do not like Tenzin Rigden. JYT certainly wouldn’t commit hara-kiri by taking him in. Concerning the CICC and the BT Conspiracy theories, do note that Mr. Dorji Wangchuk of the Royal Media Office was one of the Three Musketeers. Does it mean that Dorji Wangchuk should not have been appointed the head of the RMO? Or are people suggesting that when Tenzin Rigden and Tshering Gyeltshen were minting money, Dorji was hanging banners. Further, note that TR owns a chunk of the BT shares. If BT sinks, so will TR. (For your kind information, BICMA was about to shut down BT. TR heard about it and requested Sha Wangcha to talk with BIMCA. TR put his effort too. That’s why Sha Wangcha is obligated to TR: if not he would not have got the chance to display his writing skills. Ask Sha Wangcha about it.
    Please Please do not insult Tshering Gyeltshen by comparing him with TR. TG is a hero, handsome, always smiling, singer, musician, writer, director; always in the limelight; always looking for one; with a hefty bank balance, which is snowballing daily. TR knows nothing about music; got a horrible voice; is lean and dirty; most of the time broke (without money to buy cigs sometimes), which reached heights when he left BT and joined the list of Bhutan’s unemployed (Probably PM has taken him in on compassionate grounds) Have you seen TR on stage with the microphone ever? The only thing they have in common is that they can write grammatically correct sentences. They are different; externally and internally.
    What I am driving at is to convey this message; to transcend beyond what you see and hear. JYT manifests the trust and hope of the Bhutanese and is yoked to lay the foundations of a vibrant democracy. Media can shackle the foundations. JYT knows this. And by taking TR in JYT killed three birds; manage media; give TR a job and keep the nation informed. It is the DPT’s bad luck that there is no one capable within the party to do what TR is doing. Yes! JYT could have advertised the post (which is always a show). Having worked in the Ministry of Labour, the Opposition leader knows that all/most interviews are for “due process”. Candidates are selected days before interviews.Lets us all accept this fact. By taking TR in directly, the PM saved the money involved in advertising the post (sometimes for about ten times if no one turns up); the refreshments, lunch and other incentives required during the interview.
    As the PM,JYT should at least have the freedom to handpick people whom he feels can do something, and who has got nothing to do with policies. And he would not pick up someone without doing his homework right.
    What would the Opposition Leader do if he were the PM? Would he have advertised the post or picked up HIS FRIEND; someone rated at par with TR, who worked and walked with TR for a long time.
    A last request; please do not pollute this blog by dragging names of stars like Tshering Gyeltshen. A “Howraywood” BLOG is in the pipeline, where people can talk about their stars like TG, Phurba Thinley, Bons, JIgs ……..

  25. irongirl707 says

    Tshering Jamyang, you see Tenzin Rigden’s appointment as a move from the PM to “buy off” the media but I see it in a positive light. I see it more as an initiative to “managing” the media better by appointing a capable person whose integrity is solid enough though some who do not know him well/personally may not agree.

    As for the Opposition, he MAY deserve the salary he is getting( opinions may vary) but what I am trying to say is TR also deserves a “good” salary and speculation about it should not be biased.

    And as for the CICCC, I agree that tax payers’ money should not have been used to pay off the losses. But when a noble plan failed and the government had to do something to salvage the situation, maybe some amount of understanding, compromise and sacrifice is needed. And anyway, such situations do not occur regularly. But of course, the tax payers’ views on this count. Some may be disgruntled and some not. We never know.

  26. Tenzing Rigden, why don’t you come out and tell the world whether the DPT government bailed you guys out for the losses supposedly
    incurred for organizing the coronation and centenary celebrations.

  27. The main objective of the CICCC was not to celebrate the glory of the occasion, it was a business venture undertaken by TR, TG and DW. It was to make money. People should not be misled to think that CICCC was an initiative that was initiated with THADAMTSE & LEYJUMDREY.

    And it is not the practice of the GOVT to bail out private business ventures, and rightfully, it should not be so. Otherwise there is no risk involved in starting a private business. When TG, TR and DW started the CICCC did they ever mention that the profit from the CICCC w’d be donated to renovate a Lhakhang, or be donated to a hospital? NEVER.

    So bailing out the CICCC team is not the right decision. If you ask around, there may be other individuals and companies who have lost money. Will they be refunded too. I DO NOT THINK SO.

  28. Raj B. Chhetri says

    >>Bailing out from the losses incurred by tenzin Riden to the tune of 8 millions

    >> Buying out Tenzin Rigden when his thoughts differed as he was one of the main organisers of the solidariy walk against the DPT government’s handling of deaths of 7 boys in Chhukha

    >> Making Tenzin Rigden DPT government’s media relations officer since he has media controls and influence through ownership and relationship

    There is something wrong there. In any other democratic country where I live (US), this would be a big scandal calling for impeachment of the prime minister.

  29. I am saddened that this blog TOO is now showing some similar disease like other sites such as Only time will tell how long people will read these stuffs. Assuming that most of the writers are civil servants, it will be huge number of hours lost for personal matters…Thanks thadamtse… I can now breathe some air. Agree to most of your words.

  30. Ho’ble Opposition Leader,

    With all due respect, I am beginning to pity you more. Do you have to pick on everyone and everything just to make your point being the Opposition Leader?

    Remember, you pointing your “already dirty” finger at someone actually questions your own integrity.

    You yourself arent someone with a good reputation. Your whole life is questionable, if at all I have to get personal.

    But I dont want to be petty like you. I recommend you to use this blog to bring to live your already dying party.

    I know, a person like you wont even be bothered as you have lost all the little respect you had from people, but people are actually laughing at you and your blog.

    The people who support you too, here and in real life have a motive. Their motives are how they can use that orange scarf you carry on your shoulder. Which I strongly feel you dont deserve at all.

    Nothing personal, I guess you always get back what you give. I am just being fair.

  31. Sigh!

  32. pem pem,
    what a sarcastic person you are. you started addressing him with ho’ble and you end up accusing him of being a dishonourable man.In your last line you say nothing personal,and there again i see hypocrisy and sarcasm because if it’s nothing personal like you said,then how could you comment with so much undertone of hatred and jealousy.
    I don’t agree when you say people are laughing at his blog..I’m certainly not laughing neither are those people, who I know,who appriciate and admire OL for daring to come out with this blog and put up with lots of senseless and negative comments from so many people. Name one DPT MP or cabinet minister who has the guts to come out with such blog.None. Well,there is nothing they can do,most of them are half educated like me. Im sure if they happen to come out with such blog,they will be easily overwhelmed and either end up resigning or commit sucide.LOL
    I also don’t agree with you when you say that OL dosn’t deserve orange scarf-I think there is no one who is better deserved than OL. He has a Masters from Harverd,and had already served in several important positions in the govt. before he became OL.

    Mark my word from this half educated man. This OL that you so despise of will one day become our PM. There are thousands of people like me who admire him and consider him a role model.

  33. Penjore Wangdi says

    forget about who deserves what and when. Pem Pem thinks OL is picking at everything that PM does. Wrong, he is not doing enough, and not making enough noise.

    >> Mckinsey at USD9.2 millions excluding out-of-pocket expenses without any international bidding or standard procurement norms. Smells of kick back, OL should make noise, why is he not?

    >> An IT-project at Nu. 2.05 billion being implemented in great opacity, why is OL not making any noise? Voters need answers, transparency?

    >> PM’s wife and some of the wives of DPT MPs were going from village to village with ostensible reason to thank women of Bhutan for voting DPT into power. A government pilot was being deployed, why is OL not making noise?

    >>and several others that deserve sensitization and national attention….
    Hon’ble, let your voices be heard above all those DPT din.

  34. Phuntsho Tobgay says

    Penjor Wangdi, don’t forget to mention education city fiasco where PM is giving favourable government interventions and his son and nephew is involved. In any other country, such a fiasco would call for the immediate regination of the seating PM. OL, make some noise on that..

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