alexa Television, Materialism and Culture: An Exploration of Imported Media and its Implications for GNH
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Ross McDonald

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I recently spent two weeks in Thimphu, hosted by the Centre for Bhutan Studies. While there, among other explorations, I sought out general views about television and its impacts on Bhutanese life. Almost everyone I spoke to welcomed the medium which was introduced in 1998. Cable television, dominated by Indian and American programming, was generally seen as a positive advance with the potential for educating, entertaining and symbolically connecting Bhutan to the modern world. I encountered few contrary opinions – from government ministers to cable operators and from shop owners to students, the view was the same. The few dissenting exceptions, came in the main from foreigners posted on temporary contracts within the country. For them, the arrival of 45 channels of commercial television symbolised the beginning of the end for Bhutan’s unique identity and culture. It was a curious division of opinion and as is the case in most such divisions, both sides posses some truth. It is certainly true, as the Bhutanese will testify, that television is an absorbing and fascinating medium. It does connect the viewer with worlds that were previously beyond their ken and it is fantastically entertaining

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This article was published in Journal of Bhutan studies and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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