Dechen Dolkar 

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering once again said that public servants have a responsibility to share information with the media.

“My only request and the message to all agencies in the country is that if one cares about what they are doing for the larger benefit of the country, if what they are doing is public service, the public must know,” Lyonchhen said.

He said this at the recent meet the press session when the media asked his views on the increasing problems with access to information.

Lyonchhen also said that if agencies could reach individual households, it is good, if they can’t reach them, they should pass through the media.

Lyonchhen said that sharing information with the media is also part of their responsibility. “By sharing the information with the media, they are not doing any favour, they are doing what they are mandated to do and they are doing what they are paid to do.”

Journalists and those working in the media industry expressed deep concerns when the Anti-Corruption Commission released its model public service code of conduct. The ACC on December 30 last year issued an executive order requiring public agencies to develop and implement an agency-specific code of conduct based on the commission’s model public service code of conduct.

Reporters said that an increasing number of agencies have stopped sharing information with the media.

According to ACC’s model public service code of conduct public servants could face disciplinary or criminal sanction if they share official information, including non-confidential, without authorization.

It requires a public servant to maintain confidentiality and secrecy of any matter, document, report, and other information related to the official function that becomes known to them.

“I only have a request to everyone that the media is equally, if not, more important,” Lyonchhen said.

Lyonchhen said that whatever they say if they mean it for the system, the system must know. “Whatever we do, if it is for public benefit, the public must know. For this important information to go to the public, the media is the only thing that we can ride on.”