As part of the journalism award, which is in its fourth year, the Journalists Association of Bhutan (JAB) has decided to recognize the emerging concept of citizen journalism in the country.
It was decided during the annual general meeting of journalists on Wednesday, to give the best citizen journalist award to someone who has made an impact in society via social media.
The award is open to all citizens of Bhutan who are not professional journalists, and aims to encourage them to play an active role in the process of collecting and disseminating news and information on issues that impact society.
The entries will be selected from the images and video files broadcast on social media platform. The person will be awarded the title “Citizen Journalist of the Year” along with a trophy.
“With this Award, we are taking our participation with member of JAB a step forward,” said the Executive Director, JAB, Namgay Zam. She added that news can happen anywhere, any time and many times in an area where mainstream journalists may not have immediate access. “It is the viewer who can provide us with accurate pictures and videos of the actual situation.”
“It offers a platform to involve the viewers and make him/her an active participant in the process of newsgathering, making short video news; that is truly interactive,” she said, adding that JAB will reinforce its commitment to recognize and honor individuals involved in the process of newsgathering.”
Bhutan Media Foundation, Executive Director Needrup Zangpo said, “The award will encourage the values and ethics associated with journalism among the citizens in the country.”
He added that this initiative will emphasize the important role of citizens in the newsgathering process, thereby influencing society at large.
A freelance journalist, Gopilal Acharya shared that in a digital world with a whole host of different ways to communicate a factual message, it is increasingly hard to judge video shots on a mobile phone and shared on Facebook and Wechat,
“However, current affairs is clearly benefiting from citizen journalism and video testimony from ordinary citizens. Social networks are opening up whole new vistas for people. So, people who share the right information and make an impact to societies should be awarded,” he said, adding that nowadays, communities prefer to choose a source of information online.
Meanwhile, the members discussed JAB’s code of ethics and responsibilities. Around 50 journalists attended the event.
Kinley Yonten from Thimphu