BBS penalized for breaching journalist code of conduct in BBS-BICMA case

BBS has made a submission of appeal to the High Court

The Civil Bench of Thimphu District Court ordered Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) to pay a penalty of Nu 45,000 to Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) for breaching the journalist code of conduct on January 28.

The case pertains to BBS-BICMA row over a television news piece on the controversial film ‘Hema Hema’ directed by Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche.

BBS was alleged of airing clippings of the film ‘Hema Hema’ that was not certified by BICMA, disseminating incorrect information and for misinforming and misleading the public back in December 21 last year. BBS was also accused of running the story without the views from the BICMA officials.

The media regulator, BICMA, had slapped BBS with a fine of Nu 224,625 for failing to abide by its directives to pay penalties and for misinforming and instigating the public by providing incorrect information and broadcasting a one-sided story.

This was by far the highest penalty ever imposed by BICMA.

The penalty imposed on BBS was for violating section 111 (1) of the BICMA Act, 2006, which states: “No film intended for public exhibition shall be advertised to the general public though any medium before the grant of a certificate by the Authority.”

BBS had refused to pay the fine and subsequently BICMA filed the case to the court.

Meanwhile BBS made its submission for an appeal to the High Court to the Chief Judge of the district court and the hearing was done yesterday. The High court will review the case.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu