Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS)

Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) is the state-owned radio and television broadcaster in Bhutan. It is the only television service that operates from within Bhutan’s national borders.

Media assets

Television: BBS1, BBS2

Radio: BBS1, BBS2

State Media Matrix Typology: State-Controlled (SC)

Ownership and governance

BBS is a public corporation governed by an Editorial Board whose members are appointed by the Ministry of Finance.

Source of funding and budget

BBS gets more than 50% of its income from the state coffers. In 2019, it had a budget of BTN 269m (US$ 3.6m). Some 55% of that came from the government in the form of state subsidies, according to an annual report issued by the company. In 2019, BBS generated BTN 44m in revenues of its own. There was no information about what the category “Other” in the broadcaster’s budget consists of. Journalists who cover Bhutan say that the “Other” category consists of other forms of state funding and that in total the state contributes over 80% to the BBS’ budget.

In 2020, the broadcaster had a total budget of BTN 296m (US$ 3.6m), some BTN 49m of that being generated by BBS on its own, according to the latest annual report from the company.

Editorial independence

There are no rules imposed by the government on BBS when it comes to the broadcaster’s editorial coverage. On the contrary, in 1992, the King issued a royal edict that stated that BBS should be autonomous. However, that didn’t mean that the station became editorially independent. It is still known as a state-serving broadcaster that lacks mechanisms that ensure its editorial autonomy.

No domestic statute and no independent assessment or oversight mechanism to validate BBS’ editorial independence have been identified.

September 2023