Frontline World

Bhutan - The Last Place



INDEX

THE STORY
Synopsis of "The Last Place"

JOURNEY TO THE HIDDEN KINGDOM
Letter from Co-Producer Alexis Bloom

PERSPECTIVES FROM BHUTAN
The Impact of Television

WHAT'S ON IN BHUTAN?
Most Watched Cable Channels

GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS
Article by Orville Schell

BHUTAN'S BUSIEST CABLE GUY
Interview with Rinzy Dorji, Co-owner Sigma Cable

A PARENT'S VIEW
Letter to the Editor

DID YOU KNOW?
Facts and Stats about Bhutan

LINKS & RESOURCES
Media, New Technology, Human Rights and History

MAP

   


Bhutan History and Background
Challenges of a New Technology
Human Rights Issues in Bhutan
Media Resources in Bhutan

Bhutan History and Background

Overview of Bhutan
Infoplease.com reviews Bhutan's history and includes facts and figures about its culture, economy, and government.

Bhutan-Info.org
This search engine links the Bhutanese people to Web sites ranging from home improvement to video games.

Timeline: Bhutan
The BBC News chronicles key events in Bhutan's history, from the coronation of the nation's first king in 1907 to the present.

Asiaco
This search engine features 14 categories about Bhutan, from "Business and Economy" to "Arts and Culture," with links to dozens of Web sites.

Challenges of a New Technology

A Digital Divide?
In a letter to the editor, a Bhutanese citizen argues that the government and private information technology agencies need to improve Internet accessibility to all people. (Kuensel, June 9, 2001)

Cable TV: Hard Times?
Cable operators complain about exploitation on the part of foreign channel providers, who increase rates arbitrarily. The article explains that cable operators like Rinzy Dorji want media laws to protect themselves. (Kuensel, August 10, 2001)

Internet in Official Communication
Civil servants working in the remote dzongkhags, or political districts, begin to participate in an Information Technology workshop. (Kuensel, April 9, 2002)

BBS: The Rough Road Ahead
Forced to compete with dozens of foreign cable-TV channels, the local Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) struggles to sustain itself economically and improve its quality and content. (Kuensel, June 9, 2001)

Excerpt from No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
Naomi Klein's recent study of modern consumption and "branding" has implications for Bhutan's new exposure to global advertising.


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Human Rights Issues in Bhutan

While Bhutan has been cited in the news media for being the last place in the world to legalize television, the nation has also made headlines for its decade-old dispute with Nepal concerning Bhutanese refugees of Nepalese descent.

"Nepali Bhutanese," who comprise about a third of Bhutan's population, descend from Nepalese immigrants who settled in Bhutan in the late 19th century. Although this mostly Hindu group was granted citizenship in 1958, Bhutan's government changed its citizenship laws in the late 1980s, dubbing the Nepali Bhutanese illegal immigrants.

In 1990 the Bhutanese government expelled 100,000 Nepali Bhutanese, forcing them to flee to refugee camps in eastern Nepal managed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). After years of deadlocked negotiations, the governments of Bhutan and Nepal agreed in 2001 to verify the identities of the refugees by family lineage, but the Bhutanese government has not given any indication of when these families may return to Bhutan.

U.S. State Department Report on Human Rights Practices - 2001
This March 4, 2002 report cites the Bhutanese government's restrictions on its citizens' right to privacy, freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion. The study also notes that the governments of Bhutan and Nepal continue to negotiate on procedures for the repatriation of ethnic Nepali in the refugee camps.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Established by the U.N. General Assembly in 1950, this non-political organization aims to protect refugees around the world. Use the UNHCR online search engine to read articles about the crisis of the Bhutanese refugees of Nepali descent.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2002
This report notes that 100,000 Bhutanese refugees spent their tenth year in camps in southeast Nepal. Human Rights Watch cites slow progress on the part of both governments in determining the status of these refugees and returning them home. Though not specific to Bhutan, the report does mention Bhutan with respect to its human rights violations.

Bhutan News Online: Bhutanese Refugees
Bhutan's first private online news magazine features a section devoted exclusively to articles, reports and background information regarding Bhutanese refugees in Nepal.

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Media Resources in BhutanMedia Resources in BhutanMedia Resources in Bhutan

Kuensel
Bhutan's only printed newspaper, Kuensel also has a Web site that features news, links, and information about the country.

Bhutan News Online
Bhutan's first private online news magazine features Web-based news, background information on Bhutan, and links to South Asian newspapers

DrukNet is Bhutan's only Internet Service Provider

Bhutan also receives Indian newspapers, but because of its remote location and lack of daily air service, the newspapers are transported by land and arrive a day late:

The Indian Express

The Telegraph

The Hindu

The Times of India

The Hindustan Times

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