The importance of being heard

being earnest

being earnest

I’ve just learned that our oldest newpaper, Kuensel, declined to publish a letter concerning the recent media awards. The letter was from Tashi P. Wangdi, popularly called “Tosh”, a former editor-in-chief of Bhutan Observer and one of the senior-most journalists in our country. I’ve also learned that the letter was posted on Kuensel’s online discussion forum, but all twelve comments to the post were removed the next day.

I am, therefore, happy to reproduce Tashi P. Wangdi’s letter here.

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.


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  1. kikisoso says

    OL, Kudos to you!!!
    someone with wisdom and integrity once said -“I may not agree with you. But I will defend to the last your right to say it.”
    Kuensel, it’s a mighty shame but the loss is all yours. Tosh’s opinions is a “Lion’s Roar” that resounds … nothwithstanding on oyur page or not!!!

  2. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Most of us attribute this quote to the French philosopher Voltaire’s defense of free speech.

    But some disagree. See for another theory.

    Regardless of who said it, however, what we can agree on is the importance of this timeless maxim in our democracy.

    Thank you kikisoso for bringing this up.

  3. Kanchimatengteng says

    I agree that the media awards were not conducted professionally. But Tosh’s labeling everyone else mediocre made me go “Ouch!” Just because his and other stories were left out would not necessarily transform all other writers and stories into mediocrity. That is tantamount to “sour grapes.”

    By whose categorization is Tosh a heavyweight, other than his own? There are a lot of young new reporters who are very good writers. By my category, the butler in New York who maintains his blog at is the best Bhutanese writer I have come across. His vocabulary is not necessarily wide, and he can certainly use some finesse, but his writing is very good. I don’t like the way most Bhutanese write, including myself. Point is, by whose category are we calling ourselves heavyweights? Hmmm.

    But infringing on freedom of expression is another thing altogether. The government’s involvement in the media in this manner is not healthy. And I do agree that a jury member cannot award himself – that’s ridiculing the whole process of selection. Let’s stop this nonsense.

    • “By whose categorization is Tosh a heavyweight, other than his own?”
      Mine, for one. And a lot of people I know who used to read his editorials when he was with times and observer. Not just his own.
      Why not say one is good when one is? If someone knows he is good, and still goes “ooooh, aaahhhh, no, no, no, i don’t deserve anything in life, you are the one who does”, i call it hypocrisy. Humility is not necessarily a good thing to have.

  4. kikisoso says

    Dampu lay aaja kya baancha hooo … Who in the media fratenity does not know Tosh. I am a media professional and have worked with him in many different capacities. In my words he is a heavyweight. He has also been responsible for bringing up many of today’s budding journnalist.
    Hey, thanks for that head-up on that fine butler writer. We need more of them for sure.
    By choosing to ignore one of the first editors of two private newspapers, chief editors at that, the issue of ‘sour grapes’ is on the part of teh organisers. what say you???

  5. the postman says

    The man’s record speaks for itself. Talk to reporters old and young, they will tell you; about the booze and the genius.

    read his editorials whilst he was E-in-C at both Times and Observer. hard hitting but never biased; fearless but never sycophantic.

    way i see the awards, intentions were great, executions were meddled with- by the usual pseudo intelligentsia group of mercenaries.

  6. Kanchimatengteng says

    Okay, so we have several Tosh groupies here. Then maybe he is a heavyweight after all. I will resign to that fact if the majority thinks so. I am still to be blown away by his writing and editorials however, and that will always remain my opinion until proven otherwise somewhere down the road.

    Humility is hypocrisy? Hmmm….this is a first. One never becomes small with humility. I’d rather not be arrogant than not be humble. Modesty is a priceless human quality. Only those who can be sure of themselves can be humble and modest. Most egomaniacs always have something to make up for.

    This brings me to the “pseudo-intellectuals” – the self professed “thamched khenpa.” Our society is rife with them. They could certainly use some humility. Upon appointment to a certain post, an otherwise unknowledgeable person suddenly has all the ideas on just about everything – and solutions for every problem in the world. I laughed when a young man who is now a Zimplet started preaching to a professional about a profession this individual spent his whole life working in. Such is the arrogance, and a small dose of humility can certainly help here!

  7. I though the letter reflected really badly on Tosh. I mean c’mon everybody knows he writes well. There was no need for him to flash his wounded ego with this really spiteful letter. He is just pissed off that he got snubbed. He is mad that he didn’t get an award. Tosh you don’t need an award to prove anything. We know that you are good.

    But it does not do your image good when you say Bhutanese reporters can’t write a straight sentence to save their lives. I am pretty sure most reporters look up to you as their role model in writing. How can you falsely belittle them like that?

    Tosh, you are good, but you are not the best. You seem to be under the mistaken notion that you are a GOD as far as writing is concerned. You are not. Please. Control yourself. Writers/authors like Karma Singye or even Zhurmi or whatever his name is, is way better than you, in my opinion. For that matter look at our OL’s writing. I mean you’d think he took some creative writing classes to come up with something to write on his blog everyday in such interesting readable style. Keep up OL.

  8. the postman says

    i think we are all missing the point here. i believe it is not about individual honors that Tosh has a gripe with. its the vested way in which the awards were done. or maybe we give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they right the wrongs and stage this show as best as they can the in the second edition.
    PaRop, the guy you misspelt is Jurmi..not Zhurmi. They work together and have done so since Bhutan Times days. And boy! you gotta take it easy on the bile! lets not forget this discussion was brought to the fore to right the wrongs of what was obviously a very flawed, poorly conceptualized event that wanted to honor the fourth estate. Now we all know the importance of the Fourth Estate in a democratic make-up. Believe me, a vibrant media is in the interests of each and every Bhutanese citizen.

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