Dear Readers, Contributors and Well-wishers,
On behalf of the Bhutan Observer family, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a very painful but unavoidable decision that Bhutan Observer has been compelled to take – to suspend its print edition. We hope to come back, but if we do not, the issue in your hand could be the last. We are suspending the print edition after seven years of existence. But we are retaining the core editorial team, who will work for the online version of the paper. We will bring your news and views in greater frequency and volume.
We are aware that without the print edition, we will not be able to reach some of our readers, but we have already gone mobile. You can access your daily news and views from your mobile phone at m.bhutanobsever.bt.
Since Bhutan Observer first began publishing on June 2, 2006, it has embarked on a journey of serious journalism, reporting on the aspirations, struggles and everyday lives of ordinary people from remote communities, which hardly make it to the headlines of the mainstream media. We have sought to make issues of ordinary people a concern for national dialogue and policy. In doing so, we have intended to contribute to and support the democratisation of our national polity initiated by His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo and advanced by His Majesty the King. More than seven years on, we believe that we have achieved substantially, although more remains desirable.
Besides setting a number of national agenda, which is the main responsibility of news media, we have provided employment to, on average, 35 motivated, young people on average and trained a number of them abroad and at home. Some of them remain highly motivated despite the private media’s poor financial situation.
In seven years, Bhutan Observer has closely followed the national dreams and events. We were there when democracy came a-marching, and we were there when the nation celebrated 100 years of glorious reign of monarchy, the coronation of His Majesty the King, and when Bhutan joyously welcomed her new Queen. And we were there when the Druk PhuensumTshogpa swept 45 seats in the National Assembly and when the People’s Democratic Party turned things around just a few weeks ago. We have been there for you, with you, through seven years. We will still be there, but not in the traditional format.
As the first bilingual private newspaper, we have earned our just deserts for our hardwork and dedication, including the following:
• National Order of Merit (Gold) by His Majesty the King (2011)
• The Most Valuable Story of the Year (2010)
• The Best Editorial of the Year (2009)
• The Best Cartoon of the Year (2009)
• The Best Dzongkha Newspaper of the Year (2009)
Yet, we have decided to go online. We do not want to compromise our vision nor succumb to compulsions of survival in a uniquely challenging media market. Our suspending the print edition is certainly a step backward for the independent media. We know that other private media are holding on to the last lease of life. We do not want to sound recriminatory, but we want to point out that the poor state of the independent media in Bhutan can be traced back to policy confusions.
Through seven years, Bhutan Observer has not stooped to crass commercialisation or tabloidish contents for a single issue, founded as it is on the principles of social consciousness. We do not wish to stoop to the lowest common denominator. For us, there is only one choice – to be honourable.
Our readers have been an integral part of our seven years’ engagement with democracy. We have collectively contributed to realising the vision of our monarchs and people. It has been a sacred journey. We hope to continue to be part of this journey. Until we think that the conditions are right for our re-entry into the print media market, we will continue to serve our loyal readers online. We seek your support.
We would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, and well-wishers for your support and encouragement. Let’s meet online. And as we engage with you online, tell us when we get it right, and tell us when we get it wrong. We count on your continued support.
Subscribers who have paid in advance can produce money receipt to Bhutan Observer Pvt. Ltd. office on Norzin Lam to get your refund.
CEO and Publisher