At the mid-year review of the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) in Thimphu on February 7, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay asked the ministry to explore the possibility of developing a media app so that people can have access to various forms of media.

Of the 23 targets, information and communications ministry achieved only two. Twenty-one are on track.

Information and Communication Secretary Dasho Karma W Penjor said that the target of Turn Around Time (TAT) for passenger clearance for arrival of flight was reduced to about 35.02 minutes.

He said that the target to increase access to reliable and affordable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services to about 160 gewogs and community centres had been achieved. “Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) has provided internet access to about 200 gewog centres, six drungkhags, 20 dzongkhags, and 10 Basic Health Units.”

Soe, Naro, Lingzhi, Laya, and Lunana are yet to have access to the services. Shingkhar Lauri was connected with the Internet last month.

Dasho Karma W Penjor said that the Department of Information and Media’s (DOIM) target to provide training on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) to about 600 teachers and teacher trainees needed to be increased to about 700. “So far about 545 teachers have been trained.”

The training focused on key concepts and characteristics of media, values, attitudes, skills, integration of MIL, and using MIL in teaching-learning process. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that domestic flights should have been included as one of SIs. “It is not only beneficial to people living in the country but also to tourists, and foreigners.”

Highlighting the need to have access to media, especially when elections are nearing, prime minister asked ministry to look into possibility of developing a media app. “Newspapers do not reach in villages, but everyone has a phone. When we are in Thimphu, we get all the news, but the moment we are away, we have to wait. If there is an app, we can always get the articles from a click.”

He said that the government could also help media organisations through compensation or subsidy depending on the number of clicks, readers, audiences, and listeners.

Rinchen Zangmo