Some journalists were recognised and rewarded for their achievements on press freedom day, May 3.
For a profession that requires working longer hours than average on almost a daily basis, and with perhaps a little more stress, any credit would be welcomed and appreciated, no doubt.
Being recognised for any achievements may also keep aflame the passion and motivation to continue serving as a journalist.
But being recognised should also serve as a reminder that journalists do not write or report for themselves, but for the people around them. It’s not just a job. It’s a desire to contribute to society. Most journalists do not do what they do for the pay.
The sources, the people with whom we speak to, who tip us off or provide us with scoops, who are willing to risk their own jobs by disclosing information that ought to be public, are equally deserving of the awards. Without them, there would have been no story to tell.
Recently, our press freedom ranking jumped 10 places after a fall of 12 places the previous year.
Views differ on this change in ranking. Perhaps it is because other countries may have fallen in the rankings. Maybe we’ve improved.
Whatever the reason, what we can all agree upon is that there is still much room for improvement.
We’ve to continue the attempt to meet the basic fundamentals of good reporting as far as possible.
This begins with writing simple and concisely so that the majority of readers can understand our reports and make decisions for themselves. We set the standard when it comes to language, and it is for that reason we don’t impart or encourage any bad habits, especially for our younger readers. The message is what matters most.
We’ve to also try to report on news that is of value to our readers. We must try to not always simply reiterate spoon fed information, press releases, and the opening ceremonies of workshops, but go beyond.
There are ample issues out there, even ones that have already been reported on, that deserve more attention. This is especially true when it comes to our rural communities.
Despite these being financially challenging times, especially for the private media, we must also make sure our advertisers don’t determine what we report on.
We welcome that the Journalist Association of Bhutan has revived the journalism awards. Good stories and passionate reporters must be rewarded and recognised in the most objective way possible, so that they will be worthy role models for the next generation of newsmen and women.