Sunday, January 18, 2009

Media Impact Study reveals significant change in which Bhutanese view media

January 14: According to Media Impact Study 2008, Bhutanese now see media as source of entertainment. This was not the case five years ago. Bhutanese viewed media as source of information then.There has been a significant change in which Bhutanese people view media today compared to 2003. According to the draft report of the Media Impact Study 2008, media is now seen as source of entertainment. Back then it was seen as a source of information. Siok Sian Pek Dorji, a MedaiComm Consultant said this poses a huge challenge for Bhutanese media. The other significant change is that Bhutanese have adjusted their lives around TV viewing.The study concludes that apart from being a source of news and information, the media is now seen as critical player in the political process in an emerging democracy.The study revealed the growing awareness among the public, the possibility and need to involve, engage and question through media.The study stated that there is a lack of content for children. Bhutanese children are dependent on global TV meaning that they are exposed to global culture more than Bhutanese. It says that Media is not just a watchdog of society but is among the forces that changes the society itself. It says media is constructing new realities and values. The study found that media is changing the way people work, live and think. Other influences of media are in dress, culture, language and behavior.In terms of language, respondents said the media has promoted Dzongkha, particularly since the election debates. Conservatives expressed concerns on emergence of Dzonglish, a mixture of Dzongkha and English. They pointed that the future generation will speak neither English nor Dzongkha well.BBS Radio tops as the main source of news followed by BBS TV and then Kuensel. In terms of entertainment, Kuzoo FM is the main source followed by international TV and then BBS TV. BBS TV and Radio are seen as more credible compared to private radio stations and international Television channels. In terms of press, Bhutanese newspapers enjoy more credibility than international papers.The study stated that competition in the media sector has made people question accuracy and credibility. People generally thought youth are portrayed negatively, gender stereotyped, some media becoming tabloid, political and critic of nation. Respondents felt a need to balance rural-urban stories and wanted more coverage on marriage, citizenship, policies and security clearance. Rural Bhutanese said media is urban-biased. The study emphasizes that the media content must be more Bhutanese and not just imported ideas. And the media must be recognized as a viable industry that has strong impact on society. The study was conducted by the Centre for Media and Democracy with financial support from UNDP.Five Dzongkhags representing east, west, south and the central regions were covered during the study. There were 1,191 respondents

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