After six years of operation, the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) cancelled the license of the weekly Dzongkha paper, Druk Yoezer for not meeting circulation requirements.
The paper started operation on February 19, 2011 with 2,500 printed copies and employs about 10 staffs.
Chief Communication Officer of licensing and compliance division with BICMA, Wangay Dorji, said the paper’s license was cancelled since the beginning of this month due to repeated non-compliance with the required number of circulation as per the license’s terms and conditions.
He said that the issue of non-compliance with the paper had existed for a long time, and that the paper did not rectify even though it was given the chance to do so in October this year. “We have been monitoring and their circulation figure was very low. The printer has also confirmed that they are printing limited edition,” he said. “This indirectly tells us that they don’t have the potential to cater to the market.”
Wangay Dorji said that cancellation of license is the last regulatory option, which is taken after thorough monitoring, analysis of the results, and chances for rectification.
BICMA, he said, is also monitoring all newspapers regularly to check compliance with the license’s terms and conditions or BICMA regulations. “We have zero tolerance to non-compliance.”
To fulfill its mandate of monitoring and enforcement, BICMA monitors and based on the findings, a paper is informed of its lapses to rectify. “If the gravity of non-compliance is serious, we impose penalty and give them opportunities to rectify. If they do not abide even after that, we take the required action. Cancellation is our last option,” Wangay Dorji said.
During the monitoring phase, BICMA looks at the circulation and after confirmations with the printers, decisions are made.
Apart from routine monitoring, BICMA also monitors based on complaints and in collaboration with different stakeholders such as the thromde, department of revenue and customs, and department of trade.
Druk Yoezer’s officials did not comment saying that discussions on the issue are still on-going.