Stop press!

Good job

Press release

On 30th July, the media received a much-needed shot in the arm when, at the concluding ceremony of the third session of the Parliament, His Majesty the King underscored the importance of the media and commanded: “I appreciate that while some of the media agencies are young and lack adequate resources they have strived to perform their duties with complete commitment. Hereafter, media will be vital in keeping people well informed and in encouraging debate and participation – key to a vibrant democracy. Therefore, I have decided that through the exercise of my Royal Prerogative of Kidu, to strengthen media agencies so that they may carry out their duties, without fear or favour, in the interest of democracy.”

Yesterday, the media got another shot-in-the-arm. This time, it was self-help – the support came from the journalists themselves. And, what they did was launch the Thimphu Press Club.

I visited the club yesterday. It was late – almost nine o’clock – when I got there. And the official ceremonies to inaugurate the club, if there had been any, had, by then, evolved to a party. Journalists from the print media, TV and radio mingled freely with their well wishers – writers, artists, actors, musicians, and, naturally, politicians.

With overstuffed sofas in three separate lounges – each equipped with internet, TV and replicas of world famous paintings – it’s easy to see how the club will encourage our journalists to meet, discuss, debate, argue and fight over issues that they consider important. And to make sure that their members stay frequent, the club serves up a hearty, delicious fusion of Bhutanese and Indian food.

But, lest we forget the main purpose of the press club, i.e., to unwind after a hard day’s work, the centerpiece of the club is its bar. This is what will greet you as soon as you enter the ornate main door.

The press club is a first in terms of providing journalists the venue and the reason to meet regularly. This is good for our media. This also augurs well for the proposed association of journalists, work on which has already started.

The two unrelated events – His Majesty’s command and the opening of the press club – bode well for our media, the fourth estate. I’m happy. And to celebrate, I’m featuring journalists in our banner this week.

“…there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.” Thomas Carlyle in his book On Heroes and Hero Worship (1891)

 

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  1. SUPPORT MEDIA says:

    We truly support media in any manner possible and they have come a long way from immaturity to excellence. OUR FULL SUPPORT ALL THE WAY

    However, we will not tolerate MEDIA organizations initiating things like PEACE MARCH OR DEMONSTRATIONS. It is not their job. It was such a bad example for some media ppl to ahve involved in the last walk. Stay away from this and just report on it. The last walk was not healthy at all in a peaceful kingdom like ours. WHAT NEXT NOW.

  2. Dear Support Media,

    Exactly my views too!

    I too am for all the freedom and assistance to the fledgling media. But when they take to the streets, it is my view that they have no business being in the journalism business. As journalists, we need them to be neutral, none-partisan and objective. But when they become emotional captives, as I believe they were in undertaking that unnecessary public debacle inaptly called the Solidarity Walk, they will fail in their responsibility to inform the nation without prejudice. That is the kind of journalism we don’t need.

    Journalists cannot identify with a cause – they cannot afford to do that given the nature of their enterprise. The moment they do that, their objectivity goes out the window. They must identify with the facts and the reasons behind those facts. Beyond that, it will be up to their readership to decide.

    It was expected of senior journalists such as Tenzin Rigden to nurture his juniors and direct them towards honorable journalism. But it is a pity to find that he was among those who actually started the movement.

  3. Nice going, members of the Fourth Estate!!!

  4. I too fully support the above commentators. While we fully support the independence of fourth arm of the democracy, they too have a big responsibility to inform the nation in non-bias, non partisan, free and fair manner. Perhaps, today is the opportune moment for journalist and media to set right example as people are increasingly relying on media for information to assess the performance of government, MPs and other agencies. They should just inform the people and should not get involved unless it affects them (media fraternity) directly.

  5. Its a good idea. I was invited but i couldn’t make it..i was in Limbo-Land, somewhere between Damphu and Gelephu!
    But like the OL said, its a good idea…and that pat on the back by His Majesty,

    i thought, should have been the COVER story that Week, where Times featured the re-narration of the whole Chhukha episode.

    I’m not saying that that was bad… but SENSITIVITY is the key. Its like reliving the whole tragedy. The chairs/drawings were uncalled for at that printed time.

    In time these things could have been presented…focusing on the humane-side.

    There could have been a lot of questions asked. WHY? and more importantly, WHERE and How the Government can improve- man skills, trainings, equipments, all the tools-of-the-trade.
    Imagine the boys had just been washed away- it would have been an IN-BRIEF report: “Yesterday…seven boys…”
    It became the story it became because they bouldered on. This was a tragedy. But the situation gave the media all the right to ask the TOUGH questions; the BROADER questions.

    As for the SOLIDARITY; I was called. I’m happy one person thought about my VIEWS/INPUT. I said NO. The GUT tells you and you just know/feel it: We are Bhutanese and we have our own way of showing solidarity and our own way of GRIEVING which i believe is INTERNAL. Thats why I said NO. Moreover like the GUESTS above said…its not up to the MEDIA to INITIATE/PARTICIPATE in these things.
    REPORT…If there are no responses…REPORT ON THAT…IF things get apathetic, REPORT ON THAT…use stronger language, ask telling questions…and if there’s no COMMENT on that…REPORT IT!
    And please try and keep your PERSONAL AGENDAS out of the story. There’s nothing as POWERFUL and TRUTHFUL as an UNBIASED FEARLESS PEN.
    My Congratulations. May the T-Press Club become a real fraternity of media-people who constantly get sticks rather than carrots- and still stay objective regardless. That’s why news-people are so mis-understood.
    Stick to your GUTS- Its an HONOR.

  6. PRO MEDIA says:

    Tenzin Rigden may be rough, highly charged and too emotive to be an ideal guru for you.

    Nonetheless, fellow Bhutanese patriots! The next time when you get thrown out of your job unjustly or when your son or your daughter is passed over in a job or a scholarship interview or your wife is left to die in a hospital, there will be one man who will stand up for you. It will be Tenzin Rigden.

    And if all those organisations are corrupt, there is another highly-charged Tenzin. The one and the only Tenzin Lamsang!

    All your role models and upholders of equity and justice will turn a blind eye. Wanna bet on that?

    Don’t be too critical of those who are critical because one day you will need them by your side. Your rosy life can turn sour any time. Don’t forget life is uncertain.

    • Okay okay, I am buying all that … hehe Is Media the “Upper Upper House now” dispensing justice and kidu to all sundry. Whatever happened to “the truth will set you free”. Media included. Emotionally charged people do not bode well for any civilization.

  7. First thing first, I think you guys should all know that Tenzin Rigden was not the mastermind behind the Solidarity Walk. He was just a supporter. And remeber, he was not the only supporter. So, I am sure it will be higly appreciated if you guys try to find out what the truth is first. Instead of directly labelling him as the mastermind behind him.

    Tenzin Rigden is still the senior most journalist and he is still guiding cub-reporters and grooming them to be one of the country’s best journalist.

  8. We are digging our own graves by doing what others are doing.

  9. So Pro Media, what you are saying is that the actions of the likes of Tenzin Rigden are justified on the grounds that whatever he is doing is to shield us from some unknown but horrible situation in our distant future? What is he – some kind of soothsaying crusader? If that is what he wants to be, then get out of the chair that he occupies now at the Bhutan Times and do his frigging crusading work else where. As the CEO of a national newspaper with substantial readership and influence, he is a national threat and a security risk.

    If he remains the CEO of Bhutan Times, there is a real danger that he will breed a whole generation of reporters who will grow up believing that acting both judge and the jury is part of their journalistic mandate. He is the head of a national newspaper that has the potential to mold minds and influence decisions. For this reason, he does not have the luxury of allowing his emotions to override his other, more important responsibility – that of keeping the news his paper disseminates: fair, truthful, unbiased and none-partisan.

    Tenzin Rigden has to understand his responsibility in the context of what he is – head of a media organization that is as important as any of the other three arms of democracy.

  10. I am sure Mr. Ridgen understands his job and responsibility. That is why he is still the CEO of Bhutan Times.

    Dont hide behind a nick and pass your judgements on people like him.

    If you think you are any better, why dont you try taking over him.

    I am sure it will take only half a day for a person of your kind to turn over the whole country.

    Before you point a finger at yourself, remember you are not him so dont even try to say anythign against him.

    I may have asked you to step into his shoes, but alas I wont because your feet are too dirty for his shoes.

    That is where you stand, face the reality!

  11. PRO MEDIA says:

    Guest,

    I don’t know if Tenzin Rigden can predict the future. But he sure can grasp the present and understand the implications for the future. He also has the guts to face the rich and the powerful without hiding behind nicknames and anonymous discussion forums.

    Guest, you are a civil servant and may be also a political appointee, I understand you have to hide your face. My condolence to you! Because I can see you are opinionated and passionate about issues which is good for our democracy. Gimme five, man!

    Just for the record friend. We are not talking about future disasters. Tenzin has already stacked some enviable track records. He was the one to take on the government on the CDG issue (I know DPT supporters call him traitor for this) and he was also the one to protect the Takin migratory route. Twice he has stood with people who lost their dear ones because of negligence of hospital staff and he was also the one to denounce the mistreatment by police of innocent people. People pee seeing a traffic cop let alone taking on the entire organization.

    Still, I agree with the second half of your second paragraph. That’s why I said earlier he might be too emotive to be the perfect guru. Nevertheless the line between journalist and crusader is also very thin and the balance very delicate. This is a debate not only here in Bhutan but also in countries like Australia with centuries of democratic culture.

    Him being the CEO of BT? If he is thrown out from there, there is nothing that can stop him from starting another one.

  12. SUPPORT MEDIA says:

    I am not sure who took part in the solidarity walk the other day. I now see Tenzin Rigden’s name and I saw T gyeltshen on TV with fancy glasses. I want to say such glasses are not allowed in Bhutan since it belongs to the streets of San Francisco. Anyway, I am ot against the good works of the media. i applaud the efforts of all teh reporters for their true reporting and hard work. BUT that walk is what buggs me from inside. For any cause, a demonstration is not the answer. I wish the police could hyave stopped them but alas they had to concede to permission as it is allowed by the constitution. BUT the wise walker didn’t have the sense to gauge the sensitivity of the walk they initiated. IT WAS JUST NOT NECESSARY. We may loose jobs, we may loose anything but as Bhutanese we have ways to notify – why demonstrate. It was a BAD example to the youth and society of Bhutan. Who will walk tomorrow following this walk will make us all feel sorry. I am worried.

  13. PRO MEDIA

    You miss the point completely and since I understand that arguments are not going to get us anywhere, this will be the last I will respond to you.

    I am not discussing Tenzin Rigden the person – I am discussing Tenzin Rigden the CEO. At a personal level, he can go perform a tango at the Clock Tower – I give a rat’s ass. But Tenzin Rigden the CEO should be the concern of all Bhutanese people. The reason being that as the CEO of Bhutan Times, and particularly given that he is in-charge of the news section of the paper, he is in a position to cause great harm to the country if he cannot exercise restraint in his public posture.

    I do not see any logic behind aggravating one disaster with another one.

    Also, please do not make cheap digs at the DPT supporters – I am one myself. But unlike what you believe, I too am dead against the CDG. I have said it so many times and I continue to say so. I am a DPT supporter for reasons I believe are good for the country and yet, I have an open mind to visit the OL’s blog and comment here – because I believe the OL has been reasonable and useful in his stand during the assembly sessions as well as in his postings here on his blog. So far, I have nothing to oppose the OL on – neither on his stands in the NA nor here on what he writes. On the other hand, I have been vehemently opposing a few of the DPT’s programs.

    Coming back to Tenzin Rigden, trust me, I am not hitting him – no way. I have nothing to gain by it. But if he continues to occupy that very influential chair, I am trying to point out that he needs to be lot more responsible than allow his personal emotions to undermine his professional responsibilities.

    Here again, before you make another mistake, I would like to point out that I am NOT discussing the right or wrong of the Walk. You and I will never agree on that one – you have said your bit, I have said mine – let others decide on our behalf. I am strictly talking of Rigden’s professional ethics and the moral responsibility he has to foster a credible and trust worthy media.

  14. Vigilante says:

    Interesting discussion on the roll. Just few observations

    1. The Solidarity walk

    Nobel in intent : questionable (people have different perceptions to it) It may have been infused by emotionally charged personalities (with genuine concerns), but then following the many questions posed to the Government by the group (kuensel story cover on the walk)suggests revolutionary antics.

    Participation in the walk: overwhelming majority from the media (this suggests that the stories on the chukha tragedy could be baised …possibly speaking the media’s opinion)

    Positive lessons: Bhutanese people generally donot believe in such antics (hooliginism or noble)

    2. What next?: Its about time the Government takes issues like disaster management, public security, ensuring safety nets…. more seriously.

    3. What we are forgetting?: Possibly a well researched solution to the Dam’s water retention capacity. With unpredictible climatic conditions yet to come …. there is a need to rethink the technicalities of our hydro power dams so that we donot have another six, sixty or six hundred lives, farms, families succumbing to the wrath of natures fury.

    • You should be in the disaster management team Mr. Vigilante!

      • Vigilante says:

        My Dear Nono

        let me rephrase your statement:

        You should have said: We (nono and vigilante) should be in the disaster managment team. Get out of the cocoon of expecting others to do all the time…. since u surely seemed concerned … why dont you …start by saying… Mr. Vigilante… i have an idea to aid disaster management … please join me.

  15. Aha, Tenzin Rigden is a womaniser. He employes young women reporters and other staff that he likes. He is a great womaniser but he will always point to the mistakes of others and will not see his. I know someone how will stand on a witness stand to testify this truth and oneday she will.

  16. I am really grateful to media for having such good club. Media should do their duties. Why personal attack to Tenzin Rigden…no hard feelings to CEO(Bhutan Times). We the people should support Media. Media can help to our country to sort out improvement of our young democracy given by our Fourth King.If Govt. goes wrong path any media(Kuensel or Bhutan times) should provide proper reporting to the people. i appreciate Tenzin Lamsang giving report on Health Ministry’s problem.After reporting by the media i hope ACC and other agencies find out the solution for the problem.

  17. pema tshering says:

    Humanitarian works must go much beyond individuals and their ideas. No single individual should be seen as heroes or villians. No character assasins, please! Let us grow and develop as a nation, community and as Bhutanese. We need each and every single Bhutanese to make up this great country. So, please stop pointing fingers at each other, and instead, let us discuss on a more healthier note.

  18. tenzin Rigden did a thing for which bhutan could have heavy price to pay in the future with this street protest and strike culture.

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