Organisers, intending to host reality shows, will now have to produce a bank guarantee equivalent to the prize amount they announce for winners.
The bank guarantee has to be submitted to the Bhutan infocomm and media authority (BICMA), along with the proposal to host a reality show.
This requirement, according to BICMA officials, is to ensure that winners of reality shows do not get duped, and get the prizes as announced.
A guarantee from a lending financial institution ensures that the liabilities of a debtor would be met.
This move from BICMA, the license issuing authority for any entertainment show, comes after most reality show organisers are yet to give prizes to winners.
While the case of Little Champs in 2012 is in the High Court, after organiser Nidup Dorji refused to give prizes to its nine winners, BICMA suspended the license of the organiser of ‘Dance Khoray Dance’ for two years, when he changed the prizes without the authority’s approval.
The top two winners of Bhutan Star, a reality show organised by Nidup Dorji in 2011, are also yet to get their prizes. Winners of another show, hosted earlier this year, Naychung Kay dra chen (Little Stars), are also yet to get their prizes.
BICMA director Sonam Phuntsho explained that reality shows are new and, although there were provisions mandating rules and regulations for entertainment places, BICMA kept it as a guideline, so that it could evolve and change.
“But now we converted the guidelines to rules and we’re in the process of formalising it,” he said, adding that the terms and conditions for entertainment that BICMA is referring to presently is the fourth version.
The director said BICMA would also sign an agreement with financial institutions that provides the bank guarantee, stating that it would only release the money when BICMA notifies them.
Reality shows gained popularity in the country since 2008 after Nidup Dorji organised Bhutan Star. Many more organised similar shows, as it was assumed that SMS voting would bring in profit.
“It’s just not one organizer, but a lot of them who don’t give prizes to the winners, and BICMA shouldn’t allow such people to host shows again,” a civil servant said. “They’re not only cheating the participants, but the whole nation.”
Director Sonam Phuntsho said, while such reality shows do keep the people interested in the country’s culture and tradition, organisers have a long way to go in learning to organise such shows.
“It’s good that many people are trying to host these shows, as only the good and genuinely interested ones would survive in the long run,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kuensel learnt that it was not only reality shows that do not award prizes to the winners.
The Clover events and entertainment organiser has been dragged to court, after he failed to give prizes of the inter-departmental football tournament organised in the capital last year.
Organiser Karma Phuntsho is alleged of not giving the first prize of Nu 50,000 and second prize of Nu 30,000 to the winning teams.
By Tashi Dema