If the formation of media council and film commission comes through as recommended by ICT Act, Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) would  focus only on regulatory aspects of the authority’s mandate.

This follows the authority’s desire to focus on its core mandate of regulating ICT and the media.

Director general of BICMA, Chencho Dorji said that the organisation’s restructuring would have to be approved by the Royal Civil Service Commission.

“BICMA will still look after media and ICT regulation such as licensing of broadcast, print media, publishing houses, book and content reviews, and book registration.” he said. “We have also identified many gaps.”

He said that BICMA would henceforth concentrate more on improving the quality and reliability of customer services, cost (tariffs charged to customers), efficiency of services, formulating evidence-based regulations through research.

The authority will also focus on monitoring rural communication programme to connect the unconnected and ensure that people are provided quality services. “We are also concentrating on national highway coverage. All national highways must have mobile coverage. National highways should not be unconnected for more than one kilometre.”

Chencho Dorji said that unlike before, BICMA is now well equipped and is confident of carrying out its monitoring role.

The authority will also monitor electromagnetic radiations from telecommunication towers for the safety of people.

The film commission will take on the responsibilities of reviewing, certifying, and issuing film permits. As yet, film industry is at the nascent stage.

About 20 to 25 feature films and about 20 to 30 documentaries come to BICMA a year.

Although BICMA facilitates and issues licences for feature films, an independent review board consisting of 25 individuals review the films.

Media council will handle the responsibility of media accreditation and monitoring of harmful content based on the standards set by BICMA.

Chencho Dorji said that the council should look into the quality of the contents and BICMA as a regulatory authority would look at the legal aspects such as whether the contents are suitable for public consumption.

He said the role of media council and film commission would be more about promotion and development of the industry.

Karma Cheki