Many public institutions see media as their enemies. There could be reasons why media presence is not welcomed. But this is not a good thing for a society that strives for transparency and accountability.
At the recent training of the drangpons of the dzongkhag courts that was organised by Bhutan National Legal Institute and Anti-Corruption Commission in Thimphu, participants and resource persons were scandalised to see reporters in the room.
We do not understand why these things happen, why relation between public offices and the media is so unnecessarily awkward.
It is the responsibility of the media to write about events and important developments occurring in the country. We have a mandate to inform the people and educate them. We believe that our government offices and officials wouldn’t be discussing behind the closed doors things that will not benefit the country and the people.
But it is important that citizens know what is happening in the country, ministries and sectors. The people have the right to know what development plans are in the offing, which will help them participate in important national debates.
This culture of fearing media is unhealthy and it could be counterproductive to government offices that do not entertain media’s presence. They risk being seen as untouchables and, so, corrupt.
It was shocking indeed that judges had to panic because media had entered training room for coverage. Training is important. That’s why the organisers found its relevance. Media need to tell people that such and such training is happening for certain end. We do not see why media should not cover training programmes.
At the time when judiciary is striving to build new image, media sees it as their responsibility to help the sector achieve its dreams. Because, ultimately, good judicial systems will only benefit the people and the country.
When even media cannot approach government offices, their trust will suffer. And this will have a wide-ranging impact on transparency and accountability.