Only for the serious Bhutan-watcher

Big news below of an alliance of exiled journalists: This is just screaming to be a NY Times magazine article (or piece for the Columbia Journalism Review,) the idea that representatives of the diaspora from around the world are uniting in this way to cover the exodus from the “happiest place on earth” and the relocation.

Exiled media groups team-up

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 05:52 PM PDT

Following an election of new executives of the Bhutan Media Society (BMS), a platform of Bhutanese journalists in exile, at least three publications in exile have teamed-up for effective publication and advocacy.

Independent journalists, and those associated with the Association of Press Freedom Activists (APFA) Bhutan and Third World Media Network – Bhutan Chapter have expressed commitment for working together under the same platform for promoting the Bhutan News Service (BNS),apfanews.com and the Radio Bhutan Online, all functioning as an independent body.

As per the agreement forged, BMS will remain as the governing body for these three media bodies.

Vidhyapati Mishra based in Kathmandu has been unanimously eelected as Manager of the Society that has a five-member executive body. Other executive members included Indra Adhikari, Buddha Mani Dhakal, Ichha Poudel and Vikram Adhikari.

Meanwhile, the consensus on Friday also decided to promote www.bhutannewsservice.com as a news portal with added features andwww.apfanews.com as an advocacy site, with separate editorial teams.

From managerial point of view, Kentucky-based Buddha Mani Dhakal has been given the responsibility of Executive Chief of the Bhutan News Service. From the editorial aspect, TP Mishra has been entrusted to the position of Executive Editor.

BNS has also formed a Board of Editors to assist the Executive Editor. The board included RN Pokhrel (California), Kazi Gautam, Bhakta Ghimirey (New York) and Ramesh Gautam (Norway).

Considering the requirement of the Bhutanese diaspora, the Bhutan News Service is also preparing to develop a separate Nepali news site, and is expected to be ready by September, informed its Executive Chief Dhakal.

On the other hand, IP Adhikari from Adelaide of Australia will lead the editorial team of apfanews.com, where Vidhyapati Mishra and Dhakal will remain as Editors.

“The apfanews.com that remained un-updated for a few months due to some technical reasons will go alive from today itself, and shall remain as an advocacy portal,” said Adhikari from Australia.

Ichha Poudel has been given the responsibility to lead the Radio Bhutan Online team.

Issuing a press statement from Kathmandu, newly elected Manager Mishra has thanked the Bhutanese diaspora for supporting the media activities in exile.

“We are proud that our activities have been always encouraged and supported by fellow Bhutanese languishing in various regions of the world,” said Manager Mishra.

According to Mishra, BMS was pleased to announce the historic donation drive in July this year, in which it was able to collect some US $ 16000 for fire victims of Goldhap and Sanischare, making Bhutanese and well wishers participate in the mission.

“People have noticed and accepted our presence in various social activities besides media and publications,” Mishra said, added–”We are committed to partnering with various community based organizations and resettled diaspora in future for similar programs and events targeting the society.”

Manager Mishra has recalled that when BMS was announced in 2004, it just consisted of some dozen of journalists, all stationed either in Kathmandu or the Bhutanese refugee camps of Jhapa and Morang, Nepal.

Now, the network has reached even to various western countries, which have resettled Bhutanese refugees from the UN-administered camps in Nepal.

Initially, BMS simply promoted the publication of a monthly newspaper The Bhutan Reporter and a weekly radio program – Saranarthi Sarokar from Kathmandu.

Gradually, the Society expanded its working areas and even got involved in various community works such as event organization, volunteerism and fund raising during emergency hours, and capacity building trainings for young journalists in camps.

He further stated that the current publications of the Society have been connecting the dispersed Bhutanese population.

“Our struggle, with enough ups and downs, is still alive, but completing the mission without supports from the community and well wishers would be impossible,” said BMS Manager, adding—“Though the three bodies would work independently, each one of these bodies will continue to cooperate and help each other during the content generating process. We were and are always one.”

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