It is sad to hear the popular view of the Bhutanese media as of now.
We are accused of misquoting; we are accused of wanting to ‘sensationalise’ every story, whenever a reporter introduces himself or herself, the response is, “Oh, I should keep quiet, otherwise you’ll write something about me.”
We wonder why there is so much animosity toward the media. Why organisations and individuals are wary of us, and think we are out to ‘get them’. Why our populace is so sensitive about the precise words that are attributed to them, sometimes words that they have uttered.
It could be that these individuals have had a bad experience with a journalist. But most of the people whose views on the Bhutanese media circles around “more balanced reporting needed, you guys misquote,” have never been quoted by a newspaper. Then why the acrimony?
We know about the subtle power of the media. The power to influence mass opinion, to convince. That is probably coming into play when the stories about a hotshot journalist grossly distorting facts are circulated. In our small society, circulars and the Boss’s word definitely should count as media. And yes, word is getting around that the media (us) is out to ‘get you’, so each and every one better keep their mouth shut.
Hence, the opinion of the never quoted fellow that the media is abominably incorrect in most of the things they report. ???Interesting to note that the civil servants seem unanimous in this opinion.
It is a sad development because the media is a power untapped. And great power can be used for great good, as well as for incredible evil. We Bhutanese have the habit of staying away from such things, but now we have the media, power at our hands, to use to our liking. And by us, we don’t mean media persons.
We mean you, the citizen of Bhutan; the person who has been born into this age.
Every time you say, “Tsk, Tsk, our system is terrible,” you must realise that there is something you can do about it. Every time you wish you could just fix something that is ailing the nation, you must know that there is indeed something you can do.
The world has excelled in the art of using the media for its purposes. We are still learning. ‘Public Relations’ is what they are calling them, these people whose job is to ensure that the media is utilised to the best interest of their employer.
News articles that promote certain ventures are replacing advertisement slowly. And as long as the story is factually correct, the fact that a paper chooses to publish about a certain venture should not be a problem for those who are inclined to be morally upright. But how to get a paper to write about your business venture? Make sure that there is a story there that they would like to publish. After all, we are after good stories.
Public Relations is emerging to be the most important kind of relations these days, something that companies, and individuals with something at stake (politicians) are recognising.
But t the rest of you can use the media for something else. And that is the most important. You can use the media to right a wrong, but bring out the wrong in the public glare. It could be something terrible that you know has happened, it could be a sad story we could all learn a lesson from, it could be something that is always overlooked.
But bringing a wrong, however big and small out in the open, is like sunning a jaundiced patient. We will cure it. After all, mass conscience is much better that individual conscience.
And that is how you can wield great power in the interest of greater good.