29 May 2007


Journalists in Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal need your support. An estimated one sixth of the Bhutanese population, particularly the Lhotshampa minority, was forcibly evicted from the country during the early 1990s, with many of them now living in refugee camps in Nepal and India. Back in Bhutan, almost all of the media is controlled by the state.

So to keep the refugees and those in Bhutan informed, several media operations have set up in the refugee camps over the years. But they are facing a financial crisis. Laws in Nepal prohibit foreigners from selling their publications in the local market, and even if the refugee journalists could sell their papers, their audience could not afford to buy them.

Organisations such as the Association of Press Freedom Activists (APFA) - Bhutan, Bhutan Press Union (BPU) and Third World Media Network (TWMN) - Bhutan Chapter have been established in exile to campaign for free expression in the country.

TWMN has set up a new initiative, The Foundation for Media Promotion in Exile, to encourage funding from international and human rights organisations. The foundation aims to support the media in the refugee camps by providing financial support and training, and to organise a journalist of the year award to encourage young journalists in the camps. For more information and to contribute, contact: twmnbhutan@hotmail.com.

You can learn more about the press in Bhutan by reading APFA's new report, "Silenced and Controlled: The Status of Press Freedom in Bhutan"at: http://tinyurl.com/3caabk
Read more on the media situation and post a message of solidarity on the Media Helping Media website: http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/content/view/186/1/
(29 May 2007)

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