Local journalists observe World Press Freedom Day

Media: The media fraternity in the country observed World Press Freedom Day yesterday in Thimphu.

With the theme “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms” the day was observed to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of press.

The 2016 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a France-based organisation, published on April 20, ranked Bhutan 94 out of 180 countries with a score of 30.73, an improvement of 1.93 from 2015, when it was ranked 104.

Journalist Association of Bhutan (JAB) general secretary, Kinlay Tshering said that the improvement in ranking might not be because of progress made by the media fraternity in the country but because of other countries falling in their rankings.

“We cannot be complacent with the improved ranking and develop a false picture saying everything is fine with media in the country,” said Kinlay Tshering. “It’s good for a young democracy to see an improving media culture in the country, however, the ground realities are much different.”

Kinlay Tshering said that media houses in the country still face many challenges in terms of quality of news and professionalism. “The poor financial health of media houses especially the privately owned ones has had a rippling effect on the quality of journalism,” he said.

Bhutan Media Foundation (BMF) executive director, Dawa Penjor said that the improvement in the ranking is encouraging and the country now has to think about how to achieve what countries like Finland (ranked 1), Netherlands (ranked 2) and Norway (ranked 3) have achieved in terms of press freedom.

“Investments in the field of capacity building and institution developments must be made for journalism to progress in the country,” said Dawa Penjor. “Journalism has come a long way, at least in the number of media houses we have now. We cannot be complacent with our small achievements.”

Dawa Penjor said that freedom of speech is an essential part of democracy. “We practice a relatively free journalism in the country,” he said. “However, this freedom must be exercised responsibly and help provide the public with the information they need for a healthy development of the country.”

He added that cohesion and solidarity among different media houses while supporting a common cause will help in the growth of journalism.

Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) director Siok Sian Pek Dorji said that journalism in the country sill faces challenges in terms of quality and content of the news articles.

She said that most of the reporters and media houses in the country are based in urban cities and the issues covered are mostly urban-centric. She added that addressing rural issues is essential.

“We need to push ourselves a little more and come up with better ideas such as educational stories which will have major impact on people,” she said. “Press Freedom Index is one thing but we have challenges. We have to aspire to perform better with each time.”

Meanwhile, the second annual journalism award ceremony was also held in Thimphu to recognise various journalists in the country, yesterday.

Younten Tshedup

1 reply
  1. sonam yeshi gyeltshen
    sonam yeshi gyeltshen says:

    Even after 10 years of now or 15 years of now,Journalism in Bhutan will still be found at nascent stage.Simply fulfilling the purposes like information,education and entertainment doesn’t media is booming.
    As entire world comes under the domain of Journalism,media has enormous roles to be shouldered beyond those purposes.
    And every year,huge chunk of experienced and dedicated journalists leave this profession.Losing them is simply degrading professionalism. On what ground did they leave this profession.Don’t let this trend continue and lets motivate our senior journalists.We should retain them for the better future of media
    And the concept of Journalism in our society is just limited to reporting,editing,anchoring and interviewing. Therefore,anybody with simple degree can become reporter,editor,anchor etc.
    “Everybody can work in media and enjoy the title of journalist.But to what extend and for how long? ”
    It’s high time that our media is exercised and put into better function by those media professionals so that it reaches the new height of standard. Better limit recruiting those young graduates for media houses are not training centre.Don’t let them take this great title and embarrass themselves.” Just because you are job seeker,it doesn’t mean you have to take this profession as option with relaxation.”Everyone in the family can cook food but only mother can do it perfectly” mine is not the suggestion of all media houses recruiting Journalism or media graduates…what i mean is the professionalism in any field can be ensured only by that particular field expert. Nobody indeed can be well-versed and equipped with media perspectives and its proceedings,yet someone with something is better than someone with nothing inside.Let’s empower and equip for societal development

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