VOA, RFA Host Tibet Debates

Following the Dalai Lama’s announcement of his intention to hand over political leadership of the Tibetan government in exile to the next prime minister, both the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia have hosted live debates among Tibetan political candidates vying to be the Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) of the exiled Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, India.

The VOA debate, which was televised March 1, was held at the Newseum in Washington and featured Lobsang Sangay, Tashi Wangdi, and Tenzin N. Tethong in a first of its kind debate in front of a live audience.  The candidates took questions from a moderator as well as from Tibetans via video-taped questions.

VOA’s television reporting about the election has been complemented with shortwave radio segments that examine different aspects of the election of exiled parliament members and interviews with all three of the final candidates about their plans and platforms.

The RFA event, also featuring the three Kalon Tripa candidates, was held on March 13 and was broadcast via satellite television, Internet, and shortwave radio from several locations.  Candidates were in Washington and at two debate sites with audiences in India: in Dharamsala and in the southern town of Bylakuppe.

Candidates answered questions from RFA’s moderators, from audience members, and from Tibetans worldwide, including those living inside the Tibetan area in China in pre-recorded segments. The program was made possible through technical cooperation, including satellite time, from the VOA team.

RFA’s Tibetan Service is hosting a series of seven town hall-style events in Tibetan exile settlements in India, featuring parliamentary candidates ahead of the March 20 general exile government elections.