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The Prime Minister at the 26th Meet the Press programme in Thimphu said that the Constitution gives us the right to freedom of expression but that right does not mean we can undermine others’ rights. It is a simple yet powerful statement, which we think should help people who in the recent weeks have launched themselves onto kinds and levels of formal and informal debates, understand how to exercise their rights in a manner proper and becoming of responsible citizens. What is important is that we know when to speak and when not to.

Media have a serious mandate and the professionals in the industry should know how well workwise to respect and execute their duties. Perhaps it is time we the media and the young professionals in the industry took stock of the things. Yes, our job is to report about things that are going wrong in the society with the confidence that we could contribute to a healthy debate and effect desirable change. All true journalists walk into the profession with this belief. What they become in the end is a different story altogether. Almost always it is the way the systems work that compels them to sidestep their mandate.

Arguments could be about anything, but how rightly they are put into perspective, matters. But, more importantly, we need to know how to take the debates forward. Otherwise, our debates will not be healthy and that in no way will help build our society. What we must remember is that although the Constitution gives us the right to freedom, we have no right to undermine others’ rights.

We are living in an exciting time in the history of our nation. With the advent of social media, it has become by much easier for us to throw in our views and to vent out our feelings about anything, some that doesn’t even remotely concern our lives. Because using social media has both advantages and disadvantages, we have guidelines to tell us what we can do and what we must refrain from doing on the social media. Often we do not think what weight our posts and comments could carry. Implications could be far-reaching.

As citizens, it is incumbent on us to abide by the laws of the land and, more importantly, we need to know our duties well.

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