Bhutan Observer Pvt. Ltd. is a private limited company governed by the Companies Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan. It started Bhutan’s first private bilingual newspaper on June 2, 2006. Bhutan Observer has always strived to support journalism that effect positive social change through good practices. Since then, Bhutan Observer has won several national journalism awards – the Best Editorial, the Best Dzongkha Edition, the Best Editorial Cartoon, and the Most Valuable Story (on Gross National Happiness). Bhutan Observer newspaper also received the National Order of Merit (Gold) from His Majesty the King on the 2011 National Day.
Over the seven and half years of its existence, Bhutan Observer has been playing a pivotal role in Bhutan’s new democracy. As one of the first private newspapers, it not only pointed out public policy and planning flaws in the establishment, but also provided space and impetus for public debate and discourse on matters related to democracy and other pertinent social issues. Bhutan Observer has notably made an impact on the government’s policy on food security, use of government vehicles, work culture, and culture of accountability, to cite a few examples.
After seven and half years of Bhutan Observer’s weekly print publication, it was compelled to take a very painful but unavoidable decision in an environment where the growth of free and vibrant media has become a serious democratic challenge. The paper first suspended publishing its weekly print edition from August 15, 2013 and moved to an online edition with the hope of returning as and when the Government policies becomes favourable for the growth of professional media. Suspension was also intended to give ourselves some time to reflect on our work and way forward. However, understanding that any kind of policy intervention from the Government will take its own time, we finally decided in September 2014 to discontinue the print edition of the newspaper for good. Bhutan Observer, however, re-launched its special news booklet, Bhutan Observer Focus (BO Focus), on September 2014 and continues its publication.
Widely read and circulated Druk Air’s inflight magazine Tashi Delek is published by Bhutan Observer Publications since 2012.