Bhutan | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Bhutan

Bhutan

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

68

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

24

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

22

The government restricts freedom of expression, prohibiting criticism of King Wangchuk and of Bhutan's political system. The media in this small mountain kingdom are relatively underdeveloped; Bhutan has one regularly published newspaper, the weekly Kuensel, and broadcast media are under state control. Although it is now privately run, Kuensel generally reports news that puts the kingdom in a favorable light and avoids sensitive issues such as the refugee problem or corruption. An exception is occasional coverage of criticism by National Assembly members of government policies during assembly meetings. Similarly, state-run broadcast media do not carry opposition positions and statements. Cable television services, which carry uncensored foreign programming, are thriving. Internet access is growing and is largely unrestricted, although Druknet, the only ISP, does censor certain sites.