Bhutanese journalists received excellence in journalism award yesterday. It was the celebration of a profession that records the pulse of the nation with sincere dedication and utmost respect for truth. It was also a most fitting way to observe the World Press Freedom Day.

Such recognition is necessary, not for plain pomp and pageantry, but to encourage journalists and media practitioners to strive harder to achieve excellence in their field of work. At a time when news media are in their humblest state, such an initiative to recognise outstanding achievement is more than just apt.

The Journalists Association of Bhutan, although young and challenged with funds, deserves our commendation. Such recognition will have direct bearing on the quality of journalism in the country. Otherwise, there is the danger of journalism failing to make impact in our society.

Journalism that fails to create impact because of fear is not journalism. A society that gags media from reporting issues big and important is a paranoid society that will resort to tyranny. Thankfully, we are different. We recognise the importance of journalism and foster excellence in the profession.

This will only benefit us, because fearless and responsible media lie at the front and centre of our growth as a society.

Award of recognition like this will also help bring together the scattered media houses. It is only when media houses come together that they can build strength needed for growth. Competition among different media houses will lead to improvement in the quality of reporting.

Social media is increasingly posing threat to traditional journalism. But journalism in the truest sense must not suffer because of some outlets that give out news as and when they happen. That is why award of excellence is important, to encourage in-depth and entire reportage that will not only inform and entertain, but also educate the people.

Some media practitioners felt that award categories could have been more varied. But, it’s a good beginning. We could certainly have more categories in the future.

Sources will always remain a challenge. The way ‘sensitivity’ is defined differs according to our line of work. But it is criminal to hide information. Too, it is immoral to fail to report what people have the right to know. Access to information will, thus, help clear this misunderstanding between newswriters and newsmakers.

It is of paramount importance that media succeed in this country. Excellence in journalism award is one way to improve the quality of journalism, succeeding which, we become a little more intelligent and informed society.