A friend commented that I was so driven by emotion that I was dumbfounded for words. Another smart Alec opined that I was a masterful shadow-boxer. However, the best comment came from my dad who too had seen me, for a fleeting moment, wordlessly making some points on BBS TV. Apparently, he had called up my sister to ask if I was joining politics. A mute politician? Preposterous!
You might wonder why I am suddenly the center of so much attention among my friends and relatives and why such a huge ruckus is being kicked up about my mute appearance on the BBS TV. The reason is that I was invited by the Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy to be on the panel that was discussing: Freedom of Media. How is freedom of the media understood in Bhutan, how do we fare in terms of free speech? What about our regulatory environment?
I had made some very scathing remarks against the media as a whole, how they had so far failed to live up to their enormous responsibilities as the Fourth Estate. How most of our young reporters are forever stuck in that state of infanthood. How, even after so many years, they are not being able to mature into responsible, committed and passionate custodians of the nation’s conscience. How some of them have usurped their right to free speech by being irresponsible and damaging in their reporting.
I had also touched on the subject of the RTI Act being proposed as a knee-jerk reaction arising out of some hurt ego and whether we have evolved enough to fully understand the responsibilities that come with freedom and whether we are mature enough to understand and respect the enormity of the empowerment that the RTI Act can give us.
I had also reminded them that if they were not getting the information they seek from government agencies, it was because they antagonized the source of the information and that they lacked tact and skill in handling prospective sources of the information they seek.
I had categorically stated before my talk that being critical was not being negative. I am on record (the entire proceedings were being tape recorded and video filmed) where I had pleaded with the media to be more responsible and not to add bewilderment to the already confusing state of affairs as a result of our lack of experience in a brand new form of governance.
It is obvious from the way my words were censored and muted by BBS TV, that my opinions were not well received by the media. That is fine but that kind of behavior throws up a very serious question:
How can the media in Bhutan grow into a responsible public apparatus if they can silence and moderate opposing and uncomplimentary views about themselves? Who then regulates them? Is the current state of affairs among our media houses the result of too much unrestrained freedom?
Think about it.