Selling Desire and Dissatisfaction: Why Advertising should be banned From Bhutanese Television

McDonald, Ross

In: Media and public culture: proceedings of the Second International Seminar on Bhutan Studies. Thimphu, Centre for Bhutan Studies 2007, pp. 188-207 . ISBN 99936-14-41-6

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Managing modern media represents a fundamental challenge for Bhutanese government, society and culture. As a commercialised force, modern media seeks new markets in order to profit from them. The extent to which any local population is genuinely enhanced in the process is a matter of serious debate. This paper considers the downside of commercial media and its intentions in Bhutan by looking at the nature of commercial television and how it might be constructively managed by Buddhist aspirations. Central to the argument that follows is the psychological nature of desire and dissatisfaction and how these states are to be minimised in a Buddhist sensibility but maximised in a commercialised one. Commercial television is driven by a marketing agenda that seeks to embed deep-seated desire and dissatisfaction in order that these be profitably exploited by selling material goods that will nullify these newly cultivated feelings of lack. From a Buddhist perspective this can only be destructive to positive progress when one bears in mind that the Four Noble Truths see desire as constituting the critical entrapment that needs to be overcome if individuals (and society as a whole) are to be capable of meaningful progress towards genuine feelings of fulfilment. Advertising on television aims to undo the pull of Buddhist aspiration and entrap populations within a delusional and harmful materialism. The conclusion reached in this paper is that Bhutan ought to consider an outright ban on television advertising in the same way as it has effectively banned billboard advertising across much of the country.

Document type: Book Section
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2009 12:27
ISBN: 99936-14-41-6
Faculties / Institutes: Research Organisations / Academies > Centre for Bhutan Studies
DDC-classification: Public performances
Controlled Keywords: Bhutan, Fernsehsendung, Werbung
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fernsehwerbung, Bhutan , Television , Advertising
Subject (classification): Media
Countries/Regions: Bhutan