In what could be called an effective dialogue, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) sat down with members of Bhutan’s media fraternity for an informal discussion on various themes. While there are several takeaways from the interaction, what stood out was the fact that everyone agreed on the importance of right and correct information. Perceived or implied differences, if any, between the two parties, did not find a foot on the day, except for some very specific references. In other words, there did not seem to be any difference, as it is made out to be.
This takes us to the primary issue at stake – information. The fact that all went well, despite the “supposed” area(s) of disagreement is an indication that communication between the two was either absent or feeble. Perhaps, communication was distorted! Further, with the sitting being the first of its kind, there is every room to say that there was no proper communication between the two. No one will take the heat for this.
In general, information dissemination is important because it helps to ensure that people have the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. The media is the primary source of information and despite social media having made strong inroads, the print and broadcast media are still the main sources of information for the public. It is this facet which makes it very important for agencies like the RCSC to involve and engage the media, especially at a juncture when the country is undergoing a major transformation.
This does not mean that the media adopt a lukewarm approach and leave everything to agencies. Media should be wary of manipulation or being used. It should know that “sexy quotes” may be misleading. It has to be sensible, objective, and take a balanced stand. Background checks should be done. However, there are the very shades taken out to rebuke the media and term its stories sensational and partial.
Though critics align the Bhutanese media with the private sector and say that it is still sluggish and will be so for long, to a very large extent, it has performed its role and delivered. From acting as the Ombudsman to taking roles as an educator, Bhutanese media continue to move ahead in the face of different challenges, which are out to derail it. It has been effective in disseminating information.
If there has been instances where the media appeared biased, it definitely would have been due to the lack of communication and thus information from one of the parties involved. One should not expect that the media has the luxury of time.
One of the best ways to lay the foundations for effective communication is dialogue. The RCSC has demonstrated this.