Bhutan’s private media seeks to merge

Thimphu, Jan 29 (IANS) The Media Owners Association of Bhutan (MOAB) is considering a merger of private media companies and has sought government incentives to make it feasible.

The association wrote to Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay about the idea after a meeting of members Jan 27.
Tobgay had recently mooted the idea of merging media companies, Bhutan’s national newspaper Kuensel reported.
On Tuesday, the association with its members discussed the idea, but a majority of them felt merger was not economically feasible given the huge loans individual firms had, the losses, and over ownership and editorial issues.
However, there was general consensus that companies would show more interest in a merger if the government provided some incentives.
In the letter to the prime minister, the association put forward three conditions that could make the merger more practicable for the companies.
It wanted a seven-year moratorium on issuing any more media licenses, transfer of existing high interest loans from banks to lower interest loans and a one-time grant to help with the costs and technical difficulties of the merger.
MOAB was formed Jan 6 this year.
Currently the association has 14 media houses – ten newspapers and four radio stations as members. The association’s objective is to look after the sustainability and economic issues concerning the private media, and also media in general.