Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Newspaper rescued from being wrecked

Thimphu, April 16, 2009: After much speculation, the board of directors of the Bhutan Times, the first private newspaper of the country, has decided that Chief Executive Officer of the paper Tenzin Rigden will continue in the same position.

The directors, mostly the business entrepreneurs, were dissatisfied for ignorance of the paper for covering the business they are attached to. It had undermined the editorial independence of the paper.

Facing pressure from the board, Rigden had resigned as CEO. The dispute began when the management decided without consent from the board to increase the frequency of the paper from weekly to bi-weekly, terminating 15 employees and then closing the book publication wing.

The paper has around Nu 23-25 million in unpaid dues. About Nu 6-8 million of this was the result of the newspaper management investing in the citizen’s initiative for coronation and centenary celebrations (CICCC), of which the board members’ approval was also not sought. An investment close to Nu 3.5 million was also made in the publications but only about Nu 0.3 million worth of books were sold.

The board has now appointed Phub Zam of Yarkey group of companies to look after the business management area of the newspaper.