A second newspaper, called The Brunei Times has finally been launched on Friday, 30th June, 2006, and debuted the next day, with a motto of “Fresh ideas, New options and Global vision”.
The launch marks the end of Borneo Bulletin's long time monopoly being the sole English newspaper and months of vague rumours and speculations in the blogosphere. For example, the following extract is written earlier in May where Naz from Absolute Nothingness had said:
“A new website has popped up from out of nowhere: BruneiTimesOnline. Don’t be fooled by the name, it doesn’t seem to be the official site of the upcoming English-language newspaper..”
The launching happened this morning at The Mall where all the Board of Directors were present as well as invited guests. The Minister of Home Affairs officiated the opening and he gave a brief speech.
He had adopted a heavilly positive attitude towards the newspaper, saying:
Brunei Times is a totally new concept, similar to Strait Times in terms of layout and it looked more professional and lesser of a tabloid. With a strong team and a powerful BODs on board, I can see a good future for Brunei Times.
The paper has been receiving some fairly good reviews from Bruneian Bloggers.
K had said in his/her blog that it, “looks good and hopefully it'll give the Borneo Bulletin a run for its money.”
David Cheok, on the other hand, had said that the newspaper “seems much better than that of Brunei Press with better colours and a finer resolution.” except that it needs “to be streamlined and fine tuned”. He too is very glad that Bruneians have broken away from the monopoly of Brunei Press.
LSM, had two sides to his reviews, the pessimistic:
Big words from (…)
The Brunei Times (…), let’s see if they can deliver. With their official launch on Saturday 1st July 2006, I wish them all the best.
And the optimistic, he gave raving reviews for Sunday's editorial:
I read Sunday’s editorial – ‘Novel Approach to Brunei’ – putting forward the notion of translating local literature into English and have to say I was rather impressed. An editorial that’s timely, relevant (to Brunei) and interesting. Nice catch, guys.
The newspaper had gained a lot of trust it seemed, from the Bruneian Bloggers. My hope is that the two medium of sharing information will one day collaborate to facilitate the availability of less censorship, more transparency and more freedom of speech.