Blasting the media

A cartoon dominated the front cover of today’s The Journalist.

The caricature features a hooded hangman lighting the fuse on a stick of dynamite that will blow up four newspapers. Kuensel and Observer are shown applauding the hangman’s efforts, while the public watches the dangerous proceedings in complete indifference.

So who is this hooded hangman?


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  1. Who is it? Is it right for the journalist to make an assumption like that? I don;t know.. while I like the idea of freedom of press and media… I also like some responsibilities.. this does not seem like a good thing.. no matter what they are trying to imply…….
    To me journalism is not about wits, its about telling a story as it is… and telling a story in a way people understand it. It is not leaving it up to people to interpret… then its not news… its a false message that is forced upon people…
    and Bhutanese media should not do that…at least i think.. they should not compete based on who can make the present the funniest caricature of people…
    it is a a bad joke and cheap…

  2. Linda Wangmo says

    Going by the Kabney its dasho Kinley

  3. Accountability says

    I think whoever is bringing this notion to the public msut also be made responsible my making him/her justify the case. Otherwise we will lose our trust in the media. Is there a danger of media playing politics?

  4. Cartoon is a journalistic expression. It tells a story of its own. In the cartoon, it is very clear that the man with the red scarf (who represents the state machinery – a bureaucrat) is trying to stifle media’s growth and development, especially the private newspapers. That’s the story.

    Whether it is wrong or right, ethical or not is debatable. I don’t see this as something wrong or unethical in any ways. Firstly, because The Journalist is trying to convey a message through the cartoon. Secondly, the graphic is backed by a story that is in the inside. thirdly, the The Journalist is trying to raise a issue – a pertinent one at that.

    I think more than the cartoon and how it is being depicted, it is the issue that matters. And what’s the issue here – Media’s survival and sustainability. Every Tom, Dick and Harry knows what the media must do, how important the media is in a democracy and blah blah. The same people point fingers at the media saying – how unprofessional the media are, that the media are cheap and sensation, they are too sensational or commercial blah blah.

    Both the points are valid. The media have a huge responsibility. But at the same time, most media organizations are barely surviving. The question here is about sustainability. What has the government done to develop media? How can the government help in making the media stable so that they can pursue their journalism in a serious manner? Why haven’t the government done much?

    Rather, it comes out with a policy that could spell the death of media. And that point is actually what the cartoon is driving home the point!

  5. If there is any truth in the cartoon, then I am sad. We had lots of expectations from him. But perhaps it is our fault – expecting things from the wrong people.

    Bhutanese are very adaptive and so things will move on, with or without the expectations met or promises fulfilled.

    No worry…

  6. I was wondering if our journalists and reporters have to abide by certain code for their professional code of conduct. Just because they have the liberty and power to write doesn’t necessarily mean that they can defame, accuse and blaspheme anybody on their way. When they take for themselves the right to question the morality of politicians and bureaucrats, I wonder who is questioning the morality of these so called ‘members of the fourth state’. I think the DPT government is to be blamed, because they have been excessively tolerant of the wayward attitude and conduct of some news editors and reporters.

    Just recently, I heard that a reporter dressed in pants and shirts harassed an NC member at an official dinner at Hotel Taj. When asked who let him in without a proper dress code, he is supposed to have answered that OL gave him the permission to attend the function, though it was a government organized function!

    If one looks at the profile of reporters in private new papers, most of them are social misfits, who are confirmed drug addicts, alcoholics and chain smokers. So, obviously, news information coming out of these media houses are just substandard.

    I don’t see any hope of improvement any sooner.

  7. I cannot believe how sensitive some of Bhutanese people are. They are acting like hard line Islamic Terrorist, who cannot take a little criticism. It is just a cartoon, get over it.
    They do a lot worse in lot of other countries. I guess some of you would rather be kept in the dark and suppressed than be able to express yourself. As long as it is not calling to commit a crime, I see nothing wrong with it.
    Even president Obama gets criticized, so get over it.

  8. There is a need to find a way in between. Cartoon speak more than pages of newspapers. Driglam namzha is required even in a democratic country. I think Dasho Kinley who founded the media system in Bhutan with Kuensel is conscious of what he is doing after all he was the father of journalism in Bhutan, as one may say. He was the real Journalist and we really miss his editorials. Gone are the days for such editorials. They cannot be found even if one digs for volumes of the newspapers today.

  9. DorjiDrolo says


    if I may correct you, Dasho Kinley is neither the founder of the Bhutanese media nor Kuensel. I am not sure if he is the destroyer though as the cartoon would suggest. Anyway that’s another debate.

    Kuensel was founded in 1967 by Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. BBS in 1973 by NYAB club members. Dasho Kinley joined Kuensel only in 1986 as a young journalist. Of course he has often claimed to have started Kuensel to which some people have subscribed to.

    He can be no doubt credited as Bhutan’s first trained journalist. A real veteran, a good writer, a mentor to many people and above all, a person whom we all had so much hope when he appointed there.

  10. Media watcher, thank you for your clarification…. I disagree that cartoons are journalistic expression by the way.. but I agree that they tell a story… perhaps sometimes even an exaggerated story that might not be true.
    I agree that media needs their freedom.. also agree that too much restrictions shouldn’t be put on it. But cartoons such as this is one reason why there are restrictions…… I know this form of expression is used everywhere around the world.. i know leaders all over the world get criticized and made cartoon caricatures… and we know what that has done.. more time and energy is put into getting the meanest picture or cartoon than the story…. to tell the story..
    I might not be a media expert.. But I value honesty and integrity in every profession…
    we claim that every time, but we just short in our real action…. Investigative journalism is what i would prefer rather than interpretation and opinion!!!

  11. DorjiDrolo,

    Thanks for the information. But your last paragraph says it all. That means as good as a founder. Media have the legitimacy to exist in the society for varied reasons. But can a man/woman please everybody? Has there ever been a man that succeeded in pleasing everyone? You may name me one if you know one. Everyone is interested in protecting their own self interests and always looks with suspicion when it comes to others but smiles when it satisfies one’s own desires. There is always someone who is unhappy about something, no matter how good a per is. He cannot be a perfect man, I know you will agree on that at least.


  1. […] In 2010 I posed a question. It turns out that several readers guessed the identity of the hooded hangman. But the same scenario continues to unfold today, with Kuensel as both the unknown hangman and the one applauding. […]

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