Gross National Happiness and Its Third Pillar: A Policy Analysis of the Bhutanese Broadcast System

Deki Palden Thinlay, University of Texas at El Paso


Bhutan occupies a special position in the international arena with its unique “guiding philosophy for development process called the Gross National Happiness and its objectives holds priority over economic growth. A rapidly changing local media and the foreign channels expanding foreign way of thinking introduce foreign values and cultures. This changing scenario builds up challenges for the government’s vision of GNH and the pillar of cultural preservation to prevail. This research analyzes the government’s policies available on the broadcast media through document analysis, discussions with people related to the law and policies, and analysis of selected TV and radio program contents. This study reveals that there is a need for proper implementation and operationalization of the general GNH policy into the broadcast media. This research therefore reveals the importance for an immediate formation and implementation of a media policy in Bhutan. This study also touches upon the need for a national integration of all the dynamic cultures prevalent in the country in order for a national culture too succeed. The study provides insights for Bhutanese media policymakers, and those who question mainstream, consumption-based development approaches and strive for creative, sustainable alternatives.

Subject Area

Public policy|Mass communications|South Asian Studies

Recommended Citation

Thinlay, Deki Palden, "Gross National Happiness and Its Third Pillar: A Policy Analysis of the Bhutanese Broadcast System" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1503748.