A group of 14 Bhutanese journalists attended at five-day course on Election Reporting run by the Bhutan Media Institute in collaboration with the Thomson Reuters Foundation from May 14-18. The focus was on the role that the media play in a democratic election, balanced, fair and accurate reporting of elections, and how to handle the ethical and legal challenges that can arise during election coverage.
Bhutan held its first national election in 2008 when there was just three newspapers in the country of 700,000 people that lies between India and China. The landlocked nation is now getting ready for another election in March 2013 and the media landscape has changed considerably, with 11 newspapers now printed in Bhutan as well as five radio stations and one state-funded TV station with two private TV channels in the pipeline.
Guest speakers at the course included the Chief Election Commission Dasho Kunzang Wangdi and MP Dasho Ugyen Dorji of the National Assembly of Bhutan who is chairman of the Labour and Employment Committee as well as the Media and ICT Committee.
Journalists attending the week-long course included Kesang Dema from the daily Kuensel newspaper, Saraswati Sundas from Business Bhutan, Tshering Wangdi from Bhutan Times, Yeshey Wangchuk from Gyalchi Sharshog, Pema Tenzin from Bhutan Observer, Dawa Sangmo from The Bhutanese, Yeshi Gyeltshen from BBS TV, Puran Gurung and Sonam Tashi from Bhutan Today, Phub Tshering and Tshering Dorji from The Journalist, Yeshey Dorji from Druk Ngetshul, Kelzang Wangchuk from Druk Yoedzer, Tashi Phuntsho from Kuensel Dzongkha, and Karma Choden, a freelance journalist. The course was led by Thomson Reuters Foundation trainer Belinda Goldsmith.