Dharamshala — "Voice of Tibet", an independent radio station based in Norway transmitting shortwave radio programmes in the Tibetan language as well as Mandarin Chinese celebrated its 20th anniversary.
The event was celebrated at Imperial Heights Resort, Khanyara, Kangra valley in Dharamshala, on Saturday evening, May 14. Dongchung Ngodup, former Kalon of Department of Security, was the chief guest on the occasion.
Other participants of the special event were Sonam Chomphel Sosur, the Election Commissioner, DIIR Secretaries; Sonam Norbu Dagpo and Tashi Phuntsok, Maria Dahle, Chairman for the board of the Stiftelsen Voice Of Tibet, Øystein Alme, the director of the Stiftelsen Voice Of Tibet, and representatives of the Tibetan media and NGOs.
Dongchung Ngodup spoke about the importance of defending press freedom and how the exile media should continue their works in the right direction. He said Tibetan journalists too have equal responsibility in advancing the cause of Tibet. On the contrary he believes that VOT has contributed much towards the Tibetan cause through their work in journalism, while serving the Tibetan Community.
As we are refugees in another country, the Tibetan journalists also must remember that the Tibetan freedom struggle, which should continue to always be the top priority,' he said while speaking about the concept of press freedom in exile.
The VOT, is a radio station operated by Tibetans living in exile in the Himalayan town of Dharamshala, India. VOT has "trained more than 40 journalists, many ex-VOT are working as journalists in other media organizations, while serving the Tibetan community," Editor-in-Chief of the radio station, Tenzin Paldon said while giving a brief history of her news agency.
Maria Dahle, who is also Executive Director of Human Rights House Foundation (Norway) talked about the challenges they faced for many times while trying to improve the news agency. She expressed her gladness over the Tibetan women, who are playing a great role in their career. "Tenzin Paldon is the first female editor-in-chief of Voice of Tibet," she added.
Øystein Alme praised late Kunsang Paljor, a former senior reporter of the news agency, best known for his life's work, saying that "his legacy will remain with them for a long." Mr Alme also spoken about challenges they faced during two decades, including the Chinese jamming radio transmissions from VOT and saying it is "a violation of basic human rights."
On behalf of the news agency, VOT's Senior editor Tenzin Norsang gave a thank-you speech. During the event, traditional Tibetan songs and dances were also performed, by the Dharamshala based Thangtong Lhugar Tibetan Performing Arts.
VOT has been airing daily programmes in both Tibetan and Chinese on shortwave to Tibet and China as well as India, Bhutan and Nepal since 1996.
In the introduction, VOT said its main "objectives are to provide a channel for unbiased information and news to the Tibetans living under Chinese oppression in Tibet.
In Tibet, the Chinese Communist government have monopoly control over the mass media, and with lack of an independent information source, the general public have no access to free information and total lack of a channel to voice their right to speech."