In 1999, Bhutan became one of the world’s last countries to allow television and the Internet. The kingdom is now evolving and the media landscape with it. The number of privately-owned media outlets is still low but pluralism seems to have progressed since the transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy in 2008, and foreign journalists with official accreditation are able to operate. However, the adoption of the Bhutan Information Communications and Media Act in 2006 and the creation of a media regulatory authority have reinforced the government’s armory of draconian legislation, which already included a national security law that punishes any attempt to create “misunderstanding or hostility between the government and people.” As a result, the level of self-censorship is high and even increased after the recent approval of a law criminalizing defamation, which drove several Bhutanese journalists into exile in 2017.
94 in 2016
30.73 in 2016