I have always loved Dr. Seuss. It is only recently that I have realised how relevant and important, “Oh! The places you’ll go!” is to Bhutanese journalists.
“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”
We have been mixed up with many strange birds since 2008. In trying to achieve Life’s Great Balancing Act, we forgot to be dexterous and deft. We mixed up our right foot with our left. I have been away for 11 months only to return and find that the state of the Bhutanese media has gone from bad to worse. There has never been more self- censorship and confusion.
Media freedom cannot be confirmed via a text message to a journalist. One cannot conclude that there is a lack of government interference through a question that elicits only a Yes or No response. To be fair, it isn’t only the government who feels they know better than a journalist when it comes to journalism, there are many others too including heads of organisations and owners of media houses who are under the same impression.
The Prime Minister has been aware of the deteriorating Bhutanese media situation for years now. He has written eloquently and passionately on the media on his blog. Unfortunately, that was when he was the Opposition Leader. Now, he believes media freedom has improved. Perhaps it is due to this improvement that many of us have left the media organisations we started out with. We have been so inspired to become free (lancers).
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.
But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
We have arrived at this place. But we can still forge ahead.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”