By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 8 August 2021
Launched on 8/8/2008 at 8:08am, Tibet Sun today completes 13 years of continuous publication. unfortunately it is time to end, and that too at such a young age. We believe it is not feasible or viable to keep it going any more.
After one week, the website will shut down, in the sense that no more stories, comments, or other material will be published. But the website will remain online, as an archive of what has been reported and said in the last 13 years. Hopefully the archived site will serve as another repository of Tibetan history and world events of interest to Tibetans and other students and researchers of Tibet. And there are links to our stories on many other websites – those links will not be broken!
The Proprietor, Managing Director, Editor, Reporter, Curator, and Photographer — all of whom are the writer of this piece — has been running this website for these 13 years with our own personal funds, without any salary. The advertisement revenue and what support that we have received just hasn’t been enough to keep us going any longer.
Keeping the indispensable attribute of journalism – the independence of the platform – as the highest priority, money was never the goal of running Tibet Sun. We never sought funds from anyone for Tibet Sun, to avoid any influence or interference. The only request we ever made was for a laptop and a camera, which was turned down.
Pursuing high standards of quality and journalism ethics, Tibet Sun has reported and published timely stories without fear or favour. Publication of many exclusive stories and hard-pressing issues was the distinctive mark of Tibet Sun.
The layout of the website is another Tibet Sun feature and something that we are very happy with and put a lot of thought into. Simplicity, usability, and readability, with an easy-to-use format and no distracting ads on pages, were very important to us. We are quite proud of the design and usability of our site.
Filtering, editing, and approving the comments was a fun part of running the website. Strict scrutiny of the comments didn’t let any maliciousness, swearing, etc, pass through. The most comments any post got was the last election results, receiving a record 199 comments.
Our oldest story is from 1908 – that of the 13th Dalai Lama ending four years’ wandering in China after his escape from the British invasion. It’s a New York Times story published on 22 December 1908.
Tibet Sun had a dream of archiving all the news clippings that were lying around at various organisations, but it wasn’t feasible without more people assisting in such an ambitious project.
Thank you to all our regular visitors, and particularly the commenters, sharing their views – pros or cons – on any issue. These comments encouraged us to write or post the next story. But other than these comments, at times it felt that not many Tibetans have any opinions to share – in the ‘Have your say’ section, for instance. With not much interaction, we felt that it wasn’t worthwhile to post topics for discussion in that section.
It feels appropriate to thank some of our regular commenters: མ་འཁྱོག་དྲང་ཐིག (The unswerving Line), Daveno, Ex-Libtard, Khampa Warrior, Gangchenpa, and Sonam Tsomo. You all have been wonderful. A special thank you goes to our regular Opinions contributor NS Venkataraman. Despite receiving not even an honorarium, he kept writing regularly on various current issues.
Over the years Tibet Sun has re-published many stories from so many websites, particularly the news agencies. Thankfully, these websites, and the agencies, never complained. Perhaps, we being an ethical borrower, giving credits and links to the original stories, encouraged them to leave us alone. Had the agencies asked subscription fees, Tibet Sun would have had to close down much earlier.
The webmaster has been the the backbone of this website. He volunteered right from the beginning to code, update the programs, and manage the security of the website.
Finally, thank you to all those who appreciated our works and made generous donations over the years. Advertisement being the primary source of revenue for online newspapers, you can check how much Tibet Sun made from ads over the years. The average Google ad revenue for Tibet Sun is average US$5 a month. Tibet Sun bookkeeping is here.
Sorry to disappoint some of our regular readers, but there is no hope or scope for the current management to continue Tibet Sun. Should there be a call for continuation of this website, we would welcome a new management with a deal, and they could run it themselves.