Coinciding with the World Press Freedom Day, the third annual journalism award was held yesterday in Thimphu.
Of the total of 21 awards, 14 were for print, two for radio, and three for television journalism. The awards also include the most promising young journalist of the year and the Jigme Singye Wangchuck Prestigious Award.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, while delivering the keynote address, said that only 58 entrants for the journalism award is not a good sign. “I look forward to working with you if you think this could help so that next year we have more entrants,” he said.
Lyonchoen encouraged journalists to exercise their freedom but to use it meaningfully. He emphasised the importance of getting facts correct, independence, fairness, and impartiality.
“Try to listen and try to balance your stories,” Lyonchoen said. “Be human and don’t hurt people. Be accountable. If you get it wrong, apologise sincerely.”
Lyonchoen asked the media to let him know if they faced any problems related to work. He also pointed out that there had been no sensational stories after the government took office and attributed the credit to the government.
To the winner of the most promising young journalist of the year, Kinley Yonten, who chased stories riding his rickety bicycle, lyonchoen said he would try to get a bicycle if he was still using the same. He also promised a special camera to photojournalist Karma Dupchu who was awarded the Jigme Singye Wangchuck Prestigious Award.
Journalists Association of Bhutan’s (JAB) president, Rinzin Wangchuk said journalism is riding a rough tide with the media itself being in the news.
Rinzin Wangchuk said the Press Freedom Day carries a special meaning and significance. “In a world where distortion of information and rise of terror and disturbances is threatening the peace and survival of this planet, journalism has to redeem its own souls,” he said.
He said that fervent efforts and honest service of the media professionals must be recognised to encourage them. “That is why the JAB has been recognising special contributions of Bhutanese journalists who have helped shape the face of our society, otherwise called nation building,” he said.
JAB also launched its first edition of its journal, ‘Bhutan Press Mirror: A JAB Occasional Journal’ which highlights the situation of journalism in Bhutan through opinion pieces and JAB’s activities.
JAB’s executive director Nidup Zangpo said that Lyonchoen’s address was suggestive and thanked him for putting the award winning articles in the national perspective.
Journalists, government officials, representatives from international organisations and the corporate sector attended the award function. The Anti – Corruption Commission, CC, Bank of Bhutan, Department of Information and Media, Druk Holding and Investments, Gross National Happiness Commission, Royal Bhutan Police and Royal Monetary Authority supported the event.