Documentary Film - Bhutan’s Democracy: A Decade On, Highlights Its Changing Socio-Political Landscape


The film was made with support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

Prayer flags of Bhutan. (Source: Away from the office)


By Sonam Choden BBS

A documentary film on Bhutan’s democratic journey - Bhutan’s Democracy: A Decade On, was launched in Thimphu on 20 February.

The 39 minutes documentary was produced by the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD).

Bhutan’s transition from monarchical rule to a young democratic nation

The documentary is about the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan’s transition to democracy.

The film is a reflection on the changing socio-political landscape since the introduction of democracy to Bhutan in 2008, when its first-ever parliamentary election ended the monarchical rule.

His Majesty the King Jigme Singye Wangchuk formally abdicated on 9 December 2006 for Bhutan to make her transition to democracy.



His Majesty the King Jigme Singye Wangchuk crowning his son, His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in November 2008.

Photo: Unofficial Royalty


When he announced his abdication 2006, he clarified that democracy as a form of governance should be a key pillar for Bhutan to achieve Gross National Happiness (GNH).

The concept, conceived by His Majesty himself, became the country's benchmark to promote a more balanced and equitable development, as opposed to the usual Gross National Product (GNP), used as a measurement of economic growth adopted by most countries in the world.

Social media literacy of its people needs to be addressed in Bhutan

In recent years, Bhutan has been wrestling with the impact of social media on elections which posed as a challenge for a conservative society that only allowed its people to watch television in 1999. 

Besides portraying the role of media in a democracy, the film also explains the need for better social media literacy awareness in the country.



Screening of the documentary film - Bhutan’s Democracy: A Decade On.

Photo: BBS 


The film pointed out that social media are often the source of false allegations, especially during elections.

Shedding light on the people’s perceptions on democracy and its impact on society

The film is also a compilation of different views on democracy in Bhutan. It sheds light on democracy’s benefits and challenges based on the viewpoints of a diverse group of citizens including politicians, local leaders, academicians, journalists, youth and women.

“We just wanted to capture the views of people across Bhutan after ten years of democracy to be able to share, to document what happened after three elections and the three governments,” said Siok Sian Dorji, the Executive Director of BCMD.



Bhutanese voters at the 3rd Election in 2018.



“We hope people in the community across Bhutan will watch the documentary, think about it and say ‘oh I agree or I do not agree’ or I think this is because democracy should be a daily conversation as it is our new system of governance, instead of thinking that democracy is only for politicians or adults. Everyone should be able to discuss it,” added Siok Sian Dorji.

The educational film will also be distributed to schools, colleges and other training institutes all across the country.

The project was undertaken with support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.


This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


Related Posts

Bhutan’s Ministry of Information and Communication Set To Boost...

Nu 340.555 million will be spent on: satellite, a film studio, cinemas, air and road transport, according to the draft...

Jan 03, 2019 20:31

Catch Exciting Film Screenings, Cultural And Sports Events At...

The ambassador of Japan to Bhutan, Kenji Hiramatsu is hopeful that ‘Japan Week’ will prove beneficial in promoting...

Dec 04, 2018 20:15

Bhutan’s Legend - Pemi Tshewang Tashi Is Now Successfully Made...

It is a tale of how Pemi Tshewang Tashi, a warrior in his time, gave up his personal life as he dutifully carried out...

Sep 21, 2018 17:44

The Next Guardian – First Bhutanese Documentary Film To Be...

This is the first time a documentary film from Bhutan will be screened in Japanese theatres.

Jul 31, 2018 11:26

Bhutan to hold 3rd general election on Oct 18

The primary round will be held on Sept 15, followed by the general election on Oct 18.

Aug 20, 2018 11:05

Impact of Social Media in Bhutan

Over the years, with the rapid growth and usage of social media in Bhutan, its interactive features and no holds barred...

Apr 03, 2018 19:25



Bhutan Celebrates World Children’s Day, Renews Commitment To Well-Being Of Children

UNICEF’s Bhutan Representative, Dr Will Parks said that children today encounter multiple challenges to childhood that were not envisaged 30...

Nov 21, 2019 23:38

Dumtseg Lhakhang Restored To Its Former Glory By Her Majesty The Royal Grandmother Of Bhutan

Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother graced the consecration ceremony of the renovated Lhakhang on 15 November.

Nov 17, 2019 16:28


Homestays Gaining Popularity With Tourists Seeking To Experience Authentic Bhutanese Lifestyle, Food And Culture

Villagers were provided with grants to help them develop homestay facilities such as indoor plumbing.

Nov 18, 2019 21:58

Global Happiness Alliance Aims To Spread Concept Of Gross National Happiness Worldwide

The alliance seeks to enhance the understanding of GNH as a concept and to spread it all around the world.

Nov 08, 2019 23:08


Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58


Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Kinley Rabgyel Of Goximbo

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Nov 20, 2019 23:58

Gakyed Gatoen - Festival of Happiness Seeks To Promote Bhutan’s Products

The idea of the festival was to enable tourists and Bhutanese to learn about the traditional cottage industry.

Nov 01, 2019 23:28


Bhutan’s Black-Necked Crane Festival Drawing More Foreign Tourists

Some 500 tourists from around the world came to Bhutan to see the Black-Necked Crane festival, exceeding the number of locals.

Nov 14, 2019 23:18

Bhutan Bird Festival Set Bird Watching Haven Of Zhemgang Abuzz

Zhemgang is home to more than 500 species of birds, which is an area much sought after by bird watchers from around the world.

Nov 13, 2019 12:48


Bhutanese Textiles To Be Exhibited In Paris Trade Fair 2020

The exhibition is an initiative of the EU-Bhutan Trade Support project.

Nov 10, 2019 12:48

Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

Oct 05, 2019 10:18

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!