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Bhutan


-  Surface area: 40,077 sq. km.
-  Population: 2,000,000 (800,000 according to the authorities)
-  Language: Dzong-ka (off.)
-  Type of State: unitary monarchy
-  Head of State: Jigme Singye Wangchuck
-  Head of Government: Jigmi Y. Thinley Wangchuck

Bhutan annual report

Stuck between India and China, this Himalayan kingdom brags that it is a paradisiacal Buddhist theocracy. But, in reality, the king has total power in this country without a constitution, where opponents and media are muzzled.

There is no room for pluralist information in this absolute monarchy. All media are public and are carefully controlled by "Guups", palace representatives. The official weekly Kuensel is published in three languages: English, Dzong-kha and Nepali. The only radio station, Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS), broadcasts two daily news bulletins in these four languages. Since 1999, television and the Internet have made a prudent appearance in Bhutan. The public television channel broadcasts a daily news report in two languages, but only covers the capital Thimphu. The only Internet access provider, Druknet, is above all reserved for administrations and a few privileged people. Nevertheless, the weekly Kuensel does have an English-language Web site. All these media are directly controlled by the Ministry of Communication. An officer of the Bhutanese Royal Army manages the information branch of BBS, whose two directors are named by the Royal Civil Service Commission. One former BBS journalist, currently living in exile, stated that many subjects are sensitive: corruption, border disputes, democratic claims, abuses of power, and, especially, refugees. More than one third of Bhutan’s population (mostly members of the Lhotshampkha minority) has been forced into exile in Nepal. In addition to the many restrictions imposed by the royal authority, at least three journalists were fired from official media in the past ten years.



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see also
Introduction
Annual report 2002

Hard times for press freedom
Africa annual report 2002
Americas annual report 2002
Europe annual report 2002
Maghreb / Middle-East annual report 2002