The Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD)

The mission of BCMD is to nurture a culture of democracy by strengthening media, expanding public discourse, and providing essential training and education for key persons who will have a direct impact on Bhutan's democratic transition and the creation of democratic institutions.

The Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD)
P.O. Box 1662
Thimphu, N/A N/A
Bhutan
975-02-327903
http://www.bcmd.bt

Management Team

Siok S Pek-Dorji, Jigme Choden, Tshewang Lhamo, Karan Katwal, Phuntsho Namgay

Board of Directors

Siok S Pek-Dorji, Nancy Strickland, Tashi Choden, Tashi Wangchuk, Jagar Dorji, Dorji Thinley

Project Leaders

Siok Sian Pek-Dorji

Mission

The mission of BCMD is to nurture a culture of democracy by strengthening media, expanding public discourse, and providing essential training and education for key persons who will have a direct impact on Bhutan's democratic transition and the creation of democratic institutions.

Programs

BCMD works in four core programme areas: * Strengthening Media and Democracy Literacy: In 2008, Bhutan made the momentous transition to democracy when the King voluntarily relinquished his power so that Bhutan could achieve his vision of a nation guided by the philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH). Wise as his leadership was, the transition came without any formal training for the people on the democratic processes or their respective roles and responsibilities as citizens (rather than subjects) in a democracy. BCMD thus aims to play a critical role in training and familiarizing elected officials, civil society, and government alike in the responsibilities and challenges of information-sharing, public disclosure, freedom of information, interactions with the media, and multiple channels of two-way communication with their constituents. Similarly, in a country where people seldom question the accuracy of media, it is vital that raining in media literacy skills is developed as part of a larger education objective to encourage critical thinking among all Bhutan's citizens. The media also has to be trained to think appropriately about their role in democracy as well as learn the skills of responsible journalism. * Encouraging and Expanding Public Discourse: While media in Bhutan have the freedom to provide a public space for sharing of views and opinions, in reality there is little public discussion of society, politics, culture or any other issue of national significance. Many of the youth of Bhutan have been schooled in overcrowded classrooms where teachers are hard-pressed to encourage the spirit of enquiry and questioning. The school environment tends to be top-down and focus on rote learning. The result is a generation of youth who do no question or discuss many issues openly. Nor is there a space in society wherein people can get together and discuss and identify societal problems and through the discussion provide feedback for government and political leaders. BCMD activities are designed to develop a stronger public sphere through open forums and discussions, seminars, and by giving voice to various groups civil society including youth. * Strengthening Media as the 'Fourth Estate': In the past few years, media in Bhutan have expanded rapidly and shown signs of taking on the task of being a watchdog of society. Despite these positive outcomes, most journalists are new and lack professional training. Much of media reporting lacks depth and investigation, and often falls short of providing the incisive and analytical reporting we need to be informed citizens today. In a phase of rapid expansion, media become concentrated in the capital, Thimphu, with urban-based news and information. To strengthen the institution of media, BCMD provides forums, training, and seminars to better enable media to play its part in Bhutan's changing socio-economic-political environment. * Resource Production: There is currently a dearth of resource materials on media and democracy localized to the context of Bhutan. Even with the introduction of political science and media degree courses in local colleges, they urgently require more local resource materials. Bhutan's educated populations also do not have adequate reading and online materials focusing on Bhutan's current transitions such as media development, democratic processes, and social change. BCMD develops web portals for all articles written about media and democracy in Bhutan and produces regular publications focusing on these issues.

Statistics on The Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD)

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