Session on Ethical Issues/Code of Ethics in Bhutanese Journalism

Session on Ethical Issues/Code of Ethics in Bhutanese Journalism

Ms. Tashi Dema was invited as a guest speaker for a session on Ethical Issues/Code of Ethics in Bhutanese Journalism as a part of Journalism Research module on January 24th 2022 . Ms. Tashi is the Assignment Editor in Kuensel, Bhutan’s national newspaper. Over the last 16 years, she has reported on many issues in the country. She has reported from some of the remote communities of Bhutan too. Her stories, “The Night Hunting” and “Girl missing for 8 years reunited with family” won her award for the best feature and best story for women and children respectively. She strives to be ethical and professional in her field of work.

Ms. Tashi, highlighted the following five major code of ethics she practices in her day to day career

  • Truth and Accuracy
  • Fairness & Impartiality
  • Accountability to public and state
  • Independence of media house especially editorial and the Journalist as the independence of editorials to cover stories that sometime conflict with the advertisement department.
  • Humanity

She shared that as a journalist one might not be able to make huge changes in the society at a go but small positive impact they bring to the society is rewarding and fulfilling. She gave an example of a story she covered of how three children of deceased parents who had gotten into a gruesome murder case got opportunity to study under His Majesty’s Kidu(grant). She expressed that moments like these, when journalist’s work bring about positive impact to people is what motivates a journalist to do what they do.

Responding to a question on Kuensel’s take on their journalists contributing stories to other orgnizations, Ms. Tashi shared that until and unless their work at Kuensel is not affected, it’s an allowed practice. This consideration is also made acknowledging the face that journalist are paid relatively less than any other organization, so there’s an avenue to earn extra bucks by working on their leisure time. She shared that as a journalist their working hours shouldn’t be just from 9 am to 5pm but should go beyond that exploring for opportunities and honing skills.

Mr. Sherab Dorji asked the speaker on the difference between PR and ethics, to which Ms. Tashi advised to leave the PR to Advertisement department and focus more on professional journalism.

She later expressed that this kind of platform as the MMJ class conducted by BMCI can help groom young and aspiring journalists; she added that this is the need of the hour. She also highlighted the need for senior journalists who are expert in their own field/beat should orient the young journalist through such training programme.

Testimonials from participants

Chhimi Dema ‘It was inspiring’

Sonam Choki ‘The session was valuable and informational’

Yangyel Lhaden ‘The session felt like a boost of encouragement from my senior’

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