Black Friday

Today, Friday, July 3, 2009, will be remembered as a dark day in the history of our democracy for two reasons.  One, the National Assembly started imposing its ban on live TV coverage of its proceedings.

And two, a cabinet minister refused to report to the National Council for “Question Time”. The National Council had directed the home minister to report to them today, in person, to answer questions. The questions had been sent to him in advance. Lyonpo Minjur, however, did not report to the Council and submitted his answers in writing. The refusal of a cabinet minister to report to the Council undermines the mandate of the National Council and the democratic process.

Third session

National assembly-2The third session of the first Parliament of Bhutan begins tomorrow. His Majesty the King will grace the inaugural ceremony of the third session. And the prime minister will submit his annual report on the state of our Nation to the Druk Gyalpo and the parliament.

The proceedings tomorrow will be broadcast live by BBS. As will the entire proceedings of the National Council. But the National Assembly, as of now, has not changed its decision to prevent the BBS from broadcasting most of its proceedings.

I’m still working on some talking points for tomorrow. But I’m finding it very difficult. What does one report to His Majesty the King, in the joint sitting of the parliament, when one is so disappointed and frustrated with our performance so far?

New TV centre

An anchor

An anchor

In 1973 the National Youth Association of Bhutan, consisting of fifty to sixty young women and men, decided that Thimphu needed a radio station. So they asked if they could use the government’s radio transmitter on Sundays when the wireless station in Taba normally closed and freed up a 400-watt transmitter. The Royal Government obliged. And Radio NYAB, which later became BBS, was born.

Today, 35 years later, HRH Ashi Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck inaugurated BBS’s new TV Centre. The Centre, financed by GOI, cost Nu 200 million and is fitted with state-of-the-art broadcast equipment. This will allow BBS to play an even more meaningful role in democratic Bhutan.

Dasho Paljor J. Dorji, i.e., Dasho Benji, one of the founding members of NYAB, attended today’s ceremony. He was very active and still youthful. And he seemed quite pleased at the outcome of NYAB’s initiative.