BBS’s importance undermined: Chairman

The board opts for open competition to lead BBSCL

Yangchen C Rinzin

The Bhutan Broadcasting Service Corporation Limited (BBSCL) on July 25 announced the vacancy for the post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) putting rumours to rest that the government would appoint a candidate of their choice.

The current CEO’s tenure ends in September, but rumours were rife that the former BBS’s current affair producer and a Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s member, Dawa would be the CEO of BBS.

Meanwhile, this is the first time that the post of the national television’s CEO was announced for open competition.

BBS’s Chairman of the board of directors, Dasho Kinley Dorji said that the vacancy announcement is proof that the rumours are not true. “I’m not surprised because ours is an oral society where gossip and rumour can be a powerful force,” the chairman said. “There used to be a joke in the civil service that, if you want a promotion or even a Red Scarf, start a rumour to remind the authorities.”

The vacancy announcement specified that a candidate should have Bachelor’s degree and preferably Master’s Degree with at least 10 years work experience along with two years at leadership or management. “We hope that there will be many applicants to choose from and have someone capable to manage BBS,” said the chairman.

On the qualification criteria, Dasho Kinley Dorji also said that he tried to raise the profile of CEO so that it would also raise the profile of BBS and the Bhutanese media by raising the minimum criteria. The Chairman explained that BBS, as the only national television service as well as being a leading radio and multimedia news organisation, is being somewhat undermined and its importance is not fully appreciated.

BBS earlier announced that a candidate would be at a director’s level and should have 15 years of work experience but later changed it to 10 years. The corporate governance guidelines, it was learnt, did not allow BBS to do that.

Stressing on the importance of BBS, the chairman said that BBS influences every person as nearly every Bhutanese citizen watches BBS from youngest to the oldest in rural and urban areas. “This is why the CEO is important and so are the potential candidates,” the chairman said. “Bhutanese society as a whole must understand that the CEO of BBS is not just a job, but an important responsibility.”

It is important for the CEO, not necessarily to be a journalist, but to really understand the impact of the media on society, according to the chairman. “Just think about the reach, the influence, and implications, not to speak about the sensitivities in our multiparty political environment.”

“In a way, it is critical that the CEO, like all media professionals, is fair and objective and clearly outside of politics. In fact, in the media world, we say that if people complain about your work you are probably doing something right.”

Coming from a journalism background and known for his scathing criticisms of established systems, Dasho Kinley Dorji said that he is against the categorisation of state-owned enterprises (SoE). BBS is a B category SOE. 

“How do you compare a bank, a media organisation, an industry, municipality, a government department or division, or even a ministry? I actually think that placing a social service organisation below a profit-making organisation is antithetical to GNH,” he said.

BBS had been trying to become a public sector broadcaster (PSB). The corporation has also drafted a Bill to change its status to a PSB station.

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