By Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy
In a programme supported by the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD), the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy is telling stories of Bhutan’s democratic experience on radio, in publications and is now launching two new media: a graphic novel and a TV series.
One of the key challenges of Bhutan’s evolving democracy is the fact that many of us are still trying to understand the ideologies, values and culture of democracy. There is limited discussion on democracy, or on politics, in our schools and institutions. There is currently a dearth of resources on democracy in Bhutan even as we live through the process of democratisation.
In an innovative programme supported by DIPD, the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) has been able to tell stories of Bhutan’s democratic experience on radio, in publications, and now in a graphic novel as well as an upcoming TV series.
BCMD is launching a new graphic novel titled Jurwa – a Story of Change, and a TV series with the same title. The centre also takes the occasion to share our updated Active Citizen’s Guide with new chapters on “parliament” and “women in politics”.
These are materials that will go into the public domain through TV and will be distributed in schools, institutions, and geogs. The aim is to get the attention of the younger generation – the voters and upcoming voters in the 2018 general elections.
By making democracy an everyday topic of discussion through media, the classroom, the home, and libraries, BCMD hope to debunk the myth that democracy is a political idea that does not concern the average person.
Background on Jurwa
Jurwa began as a 43-episode radio series that was broadcast in 2013/ 2014, shortly after the second general election. The stories, largely fiction, are gathered from discussions with a cross section of people – political party candidates, MPs, women, and party members including sections of youth. The radio series prompted thinking and discussion on our democratic journey and the Jurwa CDs has helped open up discussions in Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) workshops as well as in Non-Formal Education centres and libraries in strategic areas. The READ libraries use the Jurwa series as part of its women’s educational programme on a regular basis. We collaborate with CSOs to spread the message that democracy is more than an election. It is a responsibility.
Jurwa is a story with comedy, romance, suspense, and the tensions of a small community in contemporary times. Set in a fictitious village Gakithang, Jurwa highlights some of the challenges of creating a new democratic society and encourages us to think about several critical issues:
- Political candidates make realistic pledges to the people and that democracy is not just about making promises to win votes
- Candidates may earn their spurs in the local government before making it to national government
- A person who stands against another in an election is not an enemy
- It is OK to have different political views within a family
- Differing / opposing views are not a sign of disrespect. Feedback is crucial for any democracy and diverse opinions are healthy.
- Women play an equally important role in politics and in democratic change
- Everyone (both local and national representatives) is working for the same goal – a better future for Bhutan. We may belong to different parties or hold different views, but we are all in this together.
BCMD is launching the Jurwa TV series and the Jurwa graphic novel at an important national conference – Women in Governance, Leadership & Politics in Bhutan with a regional dimension at Terma Lingka on 9th March, 2017.
DIPD Director, Rasmus Petersen and an ECB representative will launch the publications in a simple ceremony with the screening of a short trailer of the upcoming TV series.
BCMD acknowledges the collaboration of BNEW and NCWC in supporting the launch.
Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: firstname.lastname@example.org