The Journalists’ Association of Bhutan (JAB) conducted a community media workshop on August 12 in Soe, Thimphu.
Forty community members, including two teachers and eight students of “School Among Snow Leopards,” attended the workshop.
The workshop is part of the project ‘Empowering Rural Communities through Mass Media’ which combines training of journalists and community people to bring them together.
The objective is to empower rural communities by using media effectively.
JAB will conduct eight such workshops within the next two years. The project will form community media forums to connect community people and journalists.
Until the village was connected with 3G service in June this year, the village was not reachale by any form of media. Now with 3G service available, most people of the community use social media, particularly WeChat. No traditional media reaches the community, except radio.
The workshop introduced the community members to different forms of media, the role and importance of the media, the government’s social media policy, and how to engage with media. They were also briefed on fake news.
The community media workshop is aimed at enhancing media knowledge of the rural people to improve coverage of rural issues in mainstream media and to create a link between community members and the media.
Most rural people are semi-literate and are mostly unreached by mainstream media and government agencies. Rural communities constitute close to 70% of Bhutan’s population, but they are not able to take advantage of the power and influence of media although they increasingly use different forms of media for news, education, entertainment and interaction.
The workshop was organised with funding support from the United Nations Democracy Fund.
Soe is officially four days’ distance from the capital. It is the smallest gewog in the country comprising of 28 households and 200 people.