Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bhutan gets its first daily newspaper

Thimphu, October 31: Bhutan on the day of Hindu’s second largest festival Bhaitika got its first daiy newspaper named Bhutan Today. Buddhists monks were invited to pray for its success on the occassion of its lunch on Thursday.

The first daily, an eight-page morning paper, is priced at Nu 5.

Monks chanted prayers and rang bells and drums were banged as the newspaper's first copies rolled off the presses at an auspicious hour chosen by astrologers.

Until Thursday, Bhutan had three bi-weekly newspapers – Kuensel, Bhutan Times and Bhutan Observer. The first is controlled by the governmetn while other two are privately owned.

It if feared whether the paper will be able to survive at a time bi-weeklies have fierce competition for the small advertising revenue. Practically, no private advertisers exist in the country and all revenue for the newspapers must come form government ads.

In its first editorial, the dialy complained of unfair competition and said other papers asked the Ministry of Information and Communications to deny a license to operate the daily.

But Tenzin Dorji, the newspaper's 32-year-old managing director, expressed hope that they would be able to overcaome all difficulties. He claimed the paper will have a print run of 18,000 copies while readership at national level is as low as 13,000.

The daily comes in English but plans to bring its national language edition soon, as law demands so.

The dialy will find it hard for delivering copies to all parts of country where exist few passable roads. The hawkers will have to carry it to far-flung districts on foot and on horseback. Bhutan News Service

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