Turn on that switch!

The signal stops here

The signal stops here

It’s been one week since the National Assembly discontinued live TV coverage of its proceedings. And most of us have now resigned to the fact that the National Assembly’s discussions are not broadcast on live TV.

Not our villagers though. I still receive calls to appeal, on their behalf, for resumption of live coverage – on radio and TV – of the Assembly’s proceedings. Today, for instance, Tashi Gyeltshen telephoned me. Tashi is from remote Merak in Trashigang. And he’s a yak herder. He called to tell me that he wants to listen to the Assembly sessions on his radio. And, that he misses watching the sessions on live TV when he visits his gewog centre.

Incidentally, that TV set, complete with satellite dish and generator, was installed by the government to increase the public’s participation in the democratic process. In fact, every one of our 205 gewogs, including the remotest ones, were similarly equipped to allow our people to learn about and contribute to His Majesty the King’s vision of a vibrant democracy.

And then there are the BBS cameramen. Three of them are still stationed strategically, to cover every moment of the Assembly’s debates. They don’t sit. They can’t sit. They are on their feet, hours on end, operating their cameras that send live TV signals to the outdoor broadcasting van parked outside the Parliament. All that prevents the TV signals from going any further is the microwave transmitter switch in the OB Van.

Turn on that switch, and the TV signals would be instantaneously transmitted to the signal receiver tower in Sangaygang. From there, fibre optic cables would carry the signals to the BBS’s National TV Centre in Chubachu, where  the satelite earth station would beam them to INSAT4 A, an Indian satellite that BBS is allowed to use free of charge. That satellite would beam the signals right back to earth, and to Merak, where the live TV images would be received on their satellite dish. And, viewed by Tashi Gyeltshen the next time he visits his gewog centre.

On behalf of all the Tashi Gyeltshen’s in all our villages, I appeal to our honourable speaker and the members of parliament to allow the resumption of live TV and radio broadcast. And on behalf of the media I say: let BBS turn on that switch!

Live TV poll

National shame

National shame

Our last poll, on the PCS, has been up for hardly four days. But it generated 51 votes. Almost three-fourths of them were cast against the position classification system. And only 14 voters supported the PCS. Several of the commentators, however, clarified that the PCS is actually a useful system, but that its flaws come from poor implementation. I agree with them.

If the RCSC wants to continue with the PCS, it should implement the system completely. In particular, it should put into practice the dual principles of “right person for the right job” and “equal money for equal value of work” that the PCS is founded upon. Half way measures will not work. And exceptions and the lack of transparency will cause civil servants to lose confidence in the system.

Our new poll is on the National Assembly’s decision to stop live TV broadcasts for most of the session. I’d written about the National Assembly’s decision a few days ago, but several people have asked for a poll.

Earlier this month, I’d also written about the BBS’s new television facilities. In a span of three weeks the BBS inaugurated a spanking new Nu 200 million National TV Centre, and they were told that they can no longer broadcast most of the National Assembly proceedings. What this is, is a national shame.