Saturday, Apr 25, 2015Saturday, Apr 25, 2015

Bhutan village feels the power of TV

Published on Jan 26, 2014 10:36 AM

RAYNALDY PARK CITY, United States (AFP) - What happens when a remote village in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan gets electricity and television? Happiness, a new documentary by the Frenchman Thomas Balmes, shines a light on the power and risks of the small screen.

In 1999, authorities in Bhutan - which famously measures prosperity by gauging its citizens' happiness, not GDP - decided, after much reflection, to allow television and the Internet into the tiny landlocked country sandwiched between China and India.

But the village of Laya, which is two days by foot from the nearest road, had to wait more than a decade more before electricity arrived.

That's when Balmes - whose work is partly financed by TV companies and who previously had a hit with a documentary called Babies - grasped the rare opportunity to observe the impact of television on a community that had never had it.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!