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Nepali Sahitya Parisad Bhutan, the publication house for The Bhutan Jagaran Fortnightly, a Nepali-Language newspaper written by and for Bhutanese refugees in [[Nepal]], stated the paper can no longer be printed due to lack of adequate funds.
General Secretary of Sahitya Parisad and Chief Editor for Jagaran Khem Shandilya informed that the possibility of paper’s closure has increased following the donor’s unwillingness to grant further financial support.
The four-page black-and-white Bhutan Jagaran contains issues related to Bhutanese refugees. Closure of this newspaper’s hardcopy print would indirectly bar Bhutanese refugees from their right to information, as it is the only Nepali newspaper meant for private circulation and is the most widely-read within this small community in eastern districts of Nepal.
The support received from the [[Austcare]] used to meet the basic expenses for the printing of the newspaper.
“I worry that the closure of this newspaper would create troublesome particularly to minors inside refugee camps who do not have access to internet and other national dailies of the host country”, says Shandilya.
According to Shandilya, the cost for the publication of the newspaper comes as just 3,000 Nepalese rupees per issue, which is equivalent to 48 US dollar.
Editor Shandilya further said that he even wishes to publish Jagaran on a monthly basis if any individuals, well wishers or media organisations are able to extend financial support. Shandilya strongly urges donors to help with the continued printing of Jagaran’s hardcopy.
The possibility of the Jagaran’s closure comes at a time when The Bhutan Reporter (TBR) monthly, an English-language newspaper, which started its publication in October 2004, has already stopped its print run because of a lack of funding.
TBR, which was funded for three months by World Association of Newspaper and later for a year by Rajen Giri, a US-based Bhutanese refugee, is no longer printed following the completion of the contract period with the sponsors.
The publisher of TBR, I.P Adhikari, says attempts are underway to find sponsors so that they can give continuity to the hardcopy publication of this, the only English newspaper in the Bhutanese refugee community.
“We are committed towards its hardcopy print should it become possible to find a long-term sponsor”, says Adhikari.
All staff, including the editorial team associated with the Bhutan Jagaran and TBR work on a volunteer basis. These newspapers lack advertising and other means of income generation in accordance with the legal laws of the host country.
Meanwhile, the Bhutan Chapter of Third World Media Network (TWMN) has appealed the international organisations, working for the promotion of the media, to extend possible financial support to ensure the continued existence of the newspaper.
“It would be one of the saddest parts if newspapers such as the Jagaran and TBR are shut down as these are the only existed newspaper in the Bhutanese refugee community with good circulations”, reads a statement issued by the TWMN, adding there is urgent need to make the printing of the papers alive so as to continue disseminating information to Bhutanese refugee community in Nepal.
TWMN also expressed gratitude to the donors that extended support in the earlier days.
Currently, there are only three newspapers including Nawlo Awaj, a Nepali-language newspaper that carries activities of Birat-led Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxists-Leninists-Maoists) running for and by Bhutanese refugees in Nepal.
Jagaran Fortnightly and TBR are only newspaper carrying impartial and balanced news stories.
Besides running a news portal www.bhutannewsservice.com , Bhutanese journalists in exile also produce and broadcast Saranarthi Sarokar, a 30-minute long weekly radio programme from two of the FM stations in Nepal.
The following are notes for editors into the situation regarding media for Bhutanese refugees in Nepal.
The circulation of both newspapers
The Bhutan Reporter: Within the refugee camps, (Biratnaga, Dharan, Birthamod) and the cities of Nepal where refugee students study, diplomatic missions and refugee aid agencies in Kathmandu, aid-agencies at Damak and Birtamod, towns near the camps.
Estimated readership of each copy
The Bhutan Reporter: 15,000
Number of refugees
Democraphic of the refugees
Alternative news sources for refugees