Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Hatred for Bhutanese Media


Going through various newspapers and listening Bhutan Broadcasting Service, I am always disgusted. I am not sure whether I am disgusted with media person, government or various news makers (ordinary and extraordinary) of  Bhutan. Most people seem to be whining without sufficient reasons. Some whines in the name of Gross National Happiness which we sell abroad like hot cakes. Some whine in the name of equity and justice which DPT government during campaign advertised like some exotic branded kids' wears. Meanwhile PDP’s walking the talk thing seemed to be forgotten altogether. It is not that I care of course. I don’t care whether DPT and PDP win or lose as long as my fundamental rights are kept intact and they try their best to deliver what they promised. I also accept the fact that no government or system will be perfect.
My irritation is not really with government or opposition despite their controversies, scams, claims and counterclaims. I am frustrated hearing about DHI employees getting more salary, potholes in the highway, girls of draying, housing crunches in urban area, Tobacco bill and so on. As a citizen I care for those legitimate issues. I only wish these urban businessmen, politicians and individuals do not whine the name of democracy, Gross National Happiness and fundamental rights.  I also hate the journalists who do their duties with vested interest and for financial bonuses or for for more news. Out of 100 news articles they churned very week, almost 60 % percent of them is nothing but repetition of old wive's tales. Next 30 percent will be ramblings with no substantial content but full of vested interest.
Most of our newspapers have forgotten the majority of rural people and their interest.  The tobacco bill raises a huge storm in urban area that now forced government to amend it in the coming assembly. The lottery case resulted into closure of lottery system.  In most reported news articles, either the complainant complained in the name of GNH or Equity or Justice or authority justified in the same name.
Now I am going to complain too. I hope I am not complaining for me.  Kengkhar, Jurme and Kheng Gmgdue are some of the remotest gewogs under Mongar Dzongkahg. Until the implementation of 10th Five Years Plan, they walked for days to get to nearest shops and roads. They still do today despite the construction of road towards their gewogs. In summer, they walked for days for few kilograms of rice for Losar and for few kilograms of salt for self-consumption braving the torrential rivers, eroding terrains and fierce wild animals. In winter, they came to sell orange, their only cash crops, using their own backs (few rich people can afford mules and horses) for negligible amount of cash.
Three years ago, I have seen them fetching water in their bamboo tubes. Some households take as long as half of the day to carry a load of water. Today, their conditions have not improved much. Still they are happy with the fact that they could use kerosene instead of pine mebchi and Jerry-can instead of bamboo tubes. I sometimes wonder that those villagers would have used same bamboo tubes given the choice. Sadly, the kind of bamboo they made tubes dried altogether few years back. Elders in the village said that kind of bamboo dried every sixteen years.
I have seen those villagers complaining whenever I went there. I have seen those people rejoicing when I went there. I have seen those people voting with concern during the first parliamentary election as their duties despite the fact none of them understood what democracy was. They were thrilled believing they would get what MPs have promised. Some MPs promised that they would give job to their school going children personally. No wonder, some of them even called MPs to give their unemployed children an employment just to hear an excuse and another promises.

Today, I am in Thimphu. I don’t hear their complaints and compliments. I no longer know whether they exist today. Going through newspapers, I feel Thimphu and few other towns constitute whole Bhutan. The other Bhutan is almost forgotten. That is what I hate about our whining media fighting for advertisement. A teacher in Gasa chatted in the facebook that she doesn’t read newspaper as she sees only disgusting and upsetting articles there. May be she is right….our media caters to Thimphu first and then other towns. The rural majority is gone in the wind when media claims to take responsibility as the fourth Estate.  


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