Investigating rewards?

The First Annual Media Award’s prize for Investigative Report of the Year, the award’s most prestigious category, went to Kuensel’s Phuntsho Choden. This came as no surprise. Phuntsho is good. Well done.

But what did come as a surprise was Tenzing Lamsang. I dare say that Tenzing has contributed significantly to the development of a free media in our country since returning to Bhutan after a stint with the Indian Express, one of India’s biggest and most respected newspapers. From politics and government to the civil service and business, he’s covered a lot of ground. And he’s done his share of investigating. He works hard: I’ve seen him in action. And he’s brave: I’ve read his stories. So, by our standards, his work is indeed very good.

Now what surprised me yesterday was not that he didn’t win. But that he wasn’t even nominated for the investigative report category. In fact, Tenzing Lamsang was not nominated in any of the four categories that he had participated in – his name was not mentioned at all yesterday.

I’m shocked. And I’m disappointed.


Facebook Comments:


  1. i thought the rent story was a winner, thats the best story i have read in any bhutanese paper so far. if we do popular awards, i am sure he’ll bag it.
    That said, I think Phuntsho’s book story was great, too.
    My congratulations to all the winners. And tensing who i dont think needs to win an award to show everyone what a good job he does.

  2. Hannah Gurung says

    I was shocked to know that Tensing Lamsang was not even nominated for something, at which, he is the best. I mean, come on people, we can’t deny the fact that he has so far done something that no Bhutanese journalists have dared to.

    I seriously don’t know what went wrong with the whole media award thing this time. Jury member bagging an award himself, 3 editorial awards and what not!!!! Seriously, media award from next time should be open for the public to decide- I think they will do a better job!

  3. Sheyoen says

    Those who have the internal drive to excel, no matter what, need no award to keep them going. Their award is their own satisfaction. I suppose people like Tenzin Lamsang fall in this category. I pray he keeps up his good work despite not having received any award and I hope the award winners, who have in their own ways proven excellence, will keep up their good work as well.

  4. Anonymous says

    Well, stories are supposed to have an impact. An investigative reporting means a story investigated by the reporters themselves and not by the concerned agency. The award’s main objective is to encourage aspiring reporters to excel, to go further, and to seek nothing but the truth with a hope that the story has an impact!

  5. Anonymous says

    Tenzing Lamsang can stir a hornet’s nest, that’s for sure. He is brave and can thus cover many issues others have not dared to touch. However, he is also sloppy when it comes to facts, good research and follow through. Like many journalists in Bhutan, he doesn’t cover various sides of a story and focuses only on what is sensational. That is a little risky – because then you are gravitating towards a tabloid story to sell your paper. And you lose credibility soon. People will dismiss you easily – and that is exactly what happened with him. Ask how many of his interviewees will give him another interview. Misquotes are a norm in his articles. I know, because I have been a victim.

  6. Anonymous says

    well, initially Tenzin seemed to be doing well but after he brought out the “rent” story, he seemed to have stooped to the powers of DPT. And as somebody mentioned he is not fair in bringing out investigative reports. he is one sided and unless he is fair he will not be appreciated by the public in Democracy. Nys good luck Tenzin, maybe next time if you still remain brave and honest.

  7. Anonymous says

    How convinently the two critical blogs on him are from ‘anonymous’ sources. They are surely some corrupt government officials exposed by him. Tenzing Lamsang in not getting nominated or winning in a government award show has paid the price for uncovering the truth and exposing the powerful who abuse power manily in the government. He has gone beyond even ACC and Audit and broken new grounds that other journo’s haven’t even thought off. He is the best of best and should perhaps now investiagte what happened in the awards show.

  8. Anonymous says

    The fact and figures of Lamsang is not fault of his. Its in fact the fault of the people, organisations or agencies that tend to hide such facts for what ever reason. He’s doing his investigation with almost no cooperation from some. His methodology he uses to get information are used in journalism all over the world and most of the time he is pretty darn accurate with his stories .
    I think he derserves to be the winner for Investigative Report of the Year if not for this whole transitional process of Bhutan. He’s gone and shaken some of the top bureaucrats and people in the country and is promoting transparency in the system. He is inspiring the check and balance that we want to see from the media. He’s persistent with his work, he’ll wait a hold day to meet with an official just to get the story.
    Thank you for brining this up in your blog! We do need to recognize such important players in our society and encourage more to be like Lamsang.
    Your a winner Lamsang with an award or not you are a winner! Thank you for your stories and keep up the great work!

  9. Anonymous says

    the first media award is highly symbolic. for now we must focus on the larger implications (positive) of such events in democratic Bhutan. I disagree with the fuss created by the OL regarding Tenzing. He is good but not good enough!! He made some grave errors in some of his earlier reportings, particulary concerning the principles of democracy and intrepretation of the constitution…he must strive to graduate from sensationalism to journalism.. n I m sure he can do it ..Tenzing- move ahead and dont get stuck with that brief stint you had with the Indian express

  10. This useless OL is really up to something fishy. Most of the articles he post here are politically motivated. He says that the the government sponsored award is dangerous as if the judges are the Ministers. He knows it so well that the three judges are a civil servant, a media person and an outsider. Who with his sane mind will think that is dangerous. This useless guy congratulates the government for sponsoring the award and then goes on to says media themselves should organize it from next year. Trying to be everything to everyone? Get real dude! Either go with government sponsorship of the awards or stop congratulating them! The media awarding themselves awards? Doesn’t he realize how phony he looks? Man, consistency is very important in politics – it’s not a multiple choice quiz.
    Sure, tenzin wrote few good articles and no one is denying that. Just because the person in your mind wasn’t on the list does not mean the judges were up to something. You sure thought you guys are going to win the first election and you didn’t. I can see that you haven’t learned any lesson from it. The same fuss you guys created after the election is being repeated here. I am disgusted with you.

  11. Anonymous says

    what a sad story!!

  12. Anonymous says

    hi, i would like to ask each and every one of you, who is responsible for the results for the media awards?

  13. Anonymous says

    Sure, ‘controversial stories’ sell and are entertaining. I, myself, enjoy reading sensationalized stories mired in controversy. Tenzin Lamsang does exactly that. I have to admit he is very good at what he does but his stories are more appropriate for tabloids.

    When writing for a serious national newspaper, you need to practice ‘reponsible journalism’ and write balanced stories. This is probably one reason why he wasnt nominated.

    Good job anyhow, Tenzin!

  14. Anonymous says

    who are we kidding, before tenzing e bhutanses media was reporting on MOU signing ceremonies or govt press release. nobody especially powerful and corrupt were sacred of media. he turned everything around in a short timw and instroduced world class investigative journalism going against powerful ppl that had neevr been touched though discussed in dining rooms only.
    and now he is left out. where elses but bhutan.
    p.s- by the way tensing never did any wrong constitutional story i can remember.

  15. Anonymous says

    Here I solemnly award Tenzin lamsang the award for the best critacal writer award. Congratulations. In the minds and eyes of most of us – Tenzing has actually won by not winning. Do you get what I am saying. It is indeed a silent victory of his over the government biasedness. Well done govt. for awarding this silent award to Tenzing. I know he will be motivated to write more on all issues critical to the public and the nation that just embarked on the journey of Democracy.

    OL brought this out for a good discussion. The party may have lost but the spirit remains in this one person who stands for what is righteous to be brought to public notice. keep it up.

  16. Anonymous says

    is that tenzin lamsang? he is cute !!! 😛

  17. Tashi Sonam says

    Dear Mr. Opposition Leader,
    How come you were not one of the awarders??? i sincerely hope you weren’t hurt.
    my condolences la

    • Dear Tashi Sonam,

      I was at the media awards to acknowledge the good work of our media and to celebrate their efforts. I had a good time…and learnt a bit.

      And no, I wasn’t hurt that I wasn’t one of the awardees. You see, I don’t have the qualifications to do so.

      thanks for your good wishes,

  18. I am also dissapointed…very! I thought no journalist compared to the quality and depth of his reporting…seriously and i am one of those who has in a way been affected in a negative manner by his reporting but still i believe in bigger things and imagined he must have won the investigative journalism…although i didn’t quite follow this media award as somewhere deep in my mind i didn’t believe this was actually rewarding free media…it was just pleasing few people.

  19. Honourable OL,
    Please don’t comment and oppose for every trival issues….Rather keep it for bigger and more important issues like CDG, medical grant etc etc….

    • Kanchimatengteng says

      There is a way to do this right. The articles, when submitted for review, should be anonymous – and the judges should not be from the media – because they would be familiar with the stories and their authors. There should be a grading rubric to make grading and reviewing more consistent and standardized.

      Tenzing should have been awarded for investigative reporting, but he needs better training in research and fact-finding. And to cover more than one angle of a story. He can certainly shine through and earn respect if he added that quality to his boldness. He did contribute a lot to media openness.

    • Dear Losel, I believe that there are five institutions that are extremely important for a vibrant Bhutanese democracy. These are, in no particular order: the civil service, judiciary, local govenment, civil society, and media.

      I’m not sure if Tenzing Lamsang should have definitely won, but I feel pretty sure that he would have at least been nominated for the award. My confidence comes from reading our newspapers. So if Tenzing should have been at least nominated, but was not–not just for the investigative journalism category, but for the other three categories that he submitted entries for as well–then I’m concerned that our media may not be as free and as honest as we say it

      In the end, Investigating rewards? was not just about one journalist who wasn’t nominated. It was about my concerns about our media. And the media is no trivial matter.


  20. Honourable OL,
    Thank you so much for your clarifications and enlightening me on this issue.

  21. I thought the BBS panel discussion could have been much better conducted. Some members did not have any content in their comments. You have been chosen to speak for your paper and you need to do better next time. If not just nominate other capable ones to represent your paper. remember, once you are on the BBS TV – you are speaking out to the whole nation. Don’t present yourslf to be disgusting. Tenzing was great.

  22. kikisoso says

    My friends wives made them buy cars in a panic buying prompted by tenzing lamzang’s article on banning the import of cars in Bhutan.
    Now if my pretty wife had made me buy a car in a hurry and I discover that the ban was just a figment of Tenzing’s sensational journalism, not having been nominated for a media awards would be the least of his worries, really!!!!
    But in hindsight, a word of advice for Lamzang. Journalism is a not a “hit or miss” lurch into self-serving limelight. It has to be responsible. So exercise better judgement and control, paaji!!!

    • Tenzing Lamsang says

      Dear kikiso,
      Thank you for your feedback which unfortunately is incorrect and rather a figment of your own imagination.
      Yes i did a story on a proposal for car tax (not ban) on the basis of the Transport MasterPlan proposal upto 2020 of the RSTA. The document which i can provide to you if u leave me ur email address.
      Thanks to the article the public reaction was so strong that the Finance Minister was forced to come out against this undemocratic proposal and say that there would be no tax.

      With regards ..Tenzing.

      • kikisoso says

        Your article is based on the implication of speculation. One does not have to mention a ban to spread panic for something in teh offing only. The article spread panic, cars were brought, dealers stopped taking orders, etc etc.. that is the truth, not speculation.
        Please contemplate on the after-effects of the implications of highlighting any issue. The preentation of news is equally important. It can be sensational or it can be balanced.The article should have been presented thus.
        While you may have the facts down, please contemplate on all ‘aspects’, too, keeping little ego aside.

      • Tenzing Lamsang says

        First you falsely accuse me of getting my facts wrong which now you accept is right after my reply post.
        And now youu want to tell me what to report or not.
        Looking at ur persistence i am pretty darn sure that u are from a rival paper involved in the awards controversy and it is a cheap way of getting back at OL and Kuensel . By the way if we followed ur advice on not doing the story then we would have to simply bend down and accept higher taxes for new cars while the jet set class could enjoy their guzzlers withouth any conscience. Higher car taxes as demonstrated world over is not the solution but more concrete measures are required.
        It is is your kind of thinking that promotes the intransparency, falsity, deception and injustice that the media is trying to fight against. Hitler would never have been able to kill six million jews if the media alerted the public in advance who unlike you has some conscience.
        By the way if you have some credibility please dont hide behind some name that reminds of snotty teenagers in a disco.

      • kikisoso says

        hey high horse yourself ….
        “if you are too smart, you can miss the whole point”- famous tibetan saying ….
        contemplate on that …..
        as they say, everything is in the “CONTEXT”, I hope you know what that means… it is unethical to quote and write without the right context …. it should be guided by a higher “PURPOSE” of ‘what will be the result of your work??” .. I hope you are familiar with such terms….
        There is no perfect situation ever, one can very well point out the failings within the context of the picture. Media people can make change without ringing alarm bells too high pitched (only Bollywood does that) Why is your world so black or white?
        In the case of the poor Jews, I am glad you saw some “white” in Hitler …. now try to see some “Black” in jews and then present eveythng within the context of the “grey” of both Hitler the horrible and por Jews…. Be objective dear.
        I bet yu find fault with all your loved ones too, right. No worries, work on it!!!
        By the way, your snort is dripping through your self-righteous rants ….
        Gandhi made changes too, pal!!! It’s about “how” too …
        don’t bristle so much. Just humour me. We both might learn something.

  23. Tenzing Lamsang says

    Since in believe in transparency i would like to come out and publicly thank all the bloggers on this post whatever your view of me is. It is your democratic right and you are welcome to it.
    Apart from that i stand by every story of mine and if i had even been wrong then do you all really think any of these powerful characters i wrote against would have spared me in court for defamation.
    On the awards i think enough has been said and i would not want to comment further.

    Thank you all including the opposition leader and i will endevaour to bring you all the truth no matter how hard or ugly it gets for me.

    With regards to all (including rival journos posing as bloggers lol)..Tenzing.

    • Attention: Tenzing or other journalist.
      I know you and some others are doing a great job in presenting your articles to teh readers. But I ahve a feeling that the Kuensel journalists in particular are now competing in presenting only critical reports of some even or the other. Who among the journalists is responsible or for that matter – are there any journalists who will present some good articles also like the success stories of a private business, success story of a government initiative, success story of any organization. It is also important for the readers and society to sometimes read such articles to motivate themselves and also some could bench mark those who succeed. It could be companies, government or individual successes. Your paper is a national paper and we want to see positive articles sometimes. Either way- you guys are doing a great job but do try to be ballanced at times. Keep up the dood work.

      • Tenzing Lamsang says

        thank you for ur feedback romeo, will take a note of your concern and yes i think we need to focus on the positive sometimes. that’s why we sometimes do policy stories like on good governance, parliament, democracy etc. anyhow good observation.

  24. The right honorable prime minister underscored the importance of principle and moral high ground when it came to media during the media awards. It is ironic that such expectations were raised during a
    ceremony that was clearly a travesty of morals and principles. To the discerning, if there are any left now, it was evident that the award ceremony was a mockery of ethical media. It was a reflection of the
    pathetic state of media in Bhutan where a few people engage in cheap tricks to further their ulterior motives. For instance, we were asked to submit our choice of articles/editorials to which we complied. In
    the end, our submissions were left out. The reason being that we are not in a newspaper anymore. How is it that a contributor can not only get an award but also be on the jury itself? That is the state of affairs with media in Bhutan. It should justly have been called the media mediocrity awards. That media people can shamelessly receive awards when they know that they are incapable of writing a straight sentence even if their lives depended on it says it all. The modus operandi was to first take out the real heavy weights so that the pseudo writers could have the night to themselves. Well so be it. Keep on playing dirty, as long as the government is there to fund it. And by the way, there was no announcement or quotation call for organizing the event. It had to be the usual suspects. So much for transparency. If it is not there in the media, don’t expect it from other quarters.

    Tashi P. Wangdi (Former BO Editor)

    • kikisoso says

      Kudos, Tosh!!! Your article says it all. Why are these “usual suspects” allowed to get away with daylight robbery. Who benefitted the most. No quottions and tenders. This is outrageus. Sadly this is the norm in our kingdom.
      Keep speaking out, Mr. Tosh, as only yu can. We do not need to back you. The truth is with you. Until it can be refuted which I absolutely doubt.

  25. Death Angel says

    (including rival journos posing as bloggers lol)

    your rival journos has better things to do than defend yourself on discussion forums. why does it even bother you when people say stuffs bout you? is it because it hits you hard coz you know they are right? or is it because you are just being a cheap ass trying your best to gain fake fame?
    com on’ dude… true journalist do not react that bad like you do. and please get the thought out that you should have won any award… there were other journalist who should have won but they never made a slightest fuss over it unlike you. and you know the reason why? coz they dont waste their time replying posts by useless bloggers….LOL
    and beware… of Passang Dorji, Tashi wangmo, Tshering C gyamtsho and lately Deki C gyeltshen…. all in all beware of Bhutan Times

    • Tenzing Lamsang says

      lol am guessin u are a bhutan times staff by the way u are quoting these names. thank you for proving my point all over again on the critical bloggers being rival journos.
      by the way all good reporters that u mention and i respect them for what they do once a week.

    • Tenzing Lamsang says

      lol am guessin u are a bhutan times staff by the way u are quoting these names. thank you for proving my point all over again on the critical bloggers being rival journos.
      by the way all good reporters that u mention and i respect them for what they do once a week..

  26. Tenzin lamzang,,, to me, i feel he is a real journalist, fearless, in depth investigation and he writes what should be written.
    Now if a true writter like him isnt even nominated let alone be the winner, then i’m afraid, by my standards, the media awards failed to do justice. Now i’m not saying the other winners werent worthy.
    But its the first event, and everyone one is entitled to make mistakes, so i’m looking forward to seeing tenzin lamzang winning many trophies this time around next year…
    Tenzin keep up your good work, you know what you are and we know it too,,,

  27. the postman says

    hey Lamsang…real people who are bothered, wanna steer this country in the right directions, who are not at all bothered by temporary glitches (like the botched awards) know the real stories behind the stories. as far as readers’ go, they know you should have gotten one. but be merry, from what i can see, all the guys without AGENDAS were left out! you are in pretty good company!!!
    keep them stories coming. being honest and truthful is the main reward.

  28. kikisoso says

    It a grey world babies …. you only see what you want …. not what it is!!!

  29. kikisoso says

    Food for thought for journalist:
    “The same moon sometimes seems to smile, and sometimes seems to cry. Sometimes we simply admire it over a glass of rice wine. But whichever moon people look at, they only see what corresponds to their karmic perception. None of them are real.”
    Kodo Sawaki Roshi (Japanese Zen monk)

  30. Tshering Phuntsho says

    What so ever, the reward for the work is the work itself. Each day there are thousands of unsung heroes that go un-noticed. We should not stop working hard when sudenly when you are not recognised. And this I have seen in Lamsang, who is still working with the same zest and zeal. I am happy that there are many supporters for Lamsang and he is aware of it. This itself is a testemony in itself how much we love to read his articles.

    We support you Lamsang. Winning a cup or medal is not always a winners’prime objective.

Leave a Reply