Anyone with access to the Internet can access Bhutanese news and programmes on their mobiles through the two new applications the Bhutan Media Foundation (BMF) launched yesterday.

Bhutan News and Radiola applications have a host of websites of newspapers and private radio stations. News consumers can now download the applications on both Android and iOS platform for free.

One can listen live to the programs aired on Yiga Radio, Radio Valley, and Kuzoo FM stations based in Thimphu.

Bhutan News application has websites of Bhutan Today, Bhutan Times, Business Bhutan, Dzongkha Kuensel, The Journalist, Druk Neytshul, Druk Yoedzer, Gyalchi Sarshog, and The Bhutanese.

Bhutan Media Foundation (BMF) executive director, Dawa Penjore, said that the Bhutanese media can expect better online presence and international recognition. “The Apps would bring the print and radio world directly into the palms of the users with the launch.”

BMF supported the nine newspapers and three radio stations to develop and upgrade their online platform by developing websites and apps with the objective to grow their reach and audience.

The applications are expected to bring additional revenue to the media organisation. BMF spent about a year and Nu 1 million to eDruk, the consultancy that developed the applications and websites.

BMF received financial support from the Swiss Development Corporation and Gross National Happiness Commission for the project.

“The initiative is to make media in Bhutan strong and vibrant and it was timely as the advantages of going online are manifolds,” Dawa Penjore said. “An active and mobile-friendly digital presence is more important than ever for media to continue to grow and gain exposure to new and potential clients, which in turn will also help in revenue generation.”

BMF trained employees from the media houses to maintain and upload content on their websites.

The Director of Gross National Happiness Commission, Rinchen Wangdi, launched the websites and apps.

The website hosting and maintenance is free for a year. Thereafter, the individual organisations have to bear the hosting charges.

Tshering Palden