Dear future young aspiring Bhutanese journalists and the youth of Bhutan, do note what is happening these days on the social media as an important part of your lesson and experience.
As a young journalist your job profile will entail uncovering corruption and abuses of power, and in doing so, you will be going up against the powerful and connected.
While journalism is young in Bhutan, the powerful have been around for centuries and are adept at playing every dirty trick in the book. This includes, among others, a strong rumor spreading network.
Unable to challenge your facts they will try and discredit you. Since they cannot get any legal or real dirt on you to take you to court or harass you, they and their supporters they will go online as anonymous people to cook up award winning fictional pieces on you and your organization.
Their hope will be that overtime these lies repeated enough times will be accepted as the truth. They also hope that the attention will be taken away from their corrupt and illegal acts and that somehow it will all be discredited even though the courts have ruled on them.
So when you sit down to pen that one investigative story or expose and protest an act of corruption do remember that you will be making relentless and powerful enemies for the ages. Powerful enemies that will stop at nothing to try and get to you and even your family.
So the question you may ask is, if it is all worth it ? My answer is that every word of it is, and if I had the chance to go back in time, I would do it all over again.
It is worth it for the land that the poor and downtrodden get back, after it was taken from them by the powerful and corrupt.
It is worth it for the millions and even billions that you save your country’s exchequer.
It is worth it for reinstating peoples’s faith in democracy and justice.
It is worth it for letting the masses know that the law is the same for everyone. Just that it takes a few people to do their jobs.
It is worth it to prevent the resource capture of an entire nation with lands, mines, businesses etc divided among a few politically connected families.
It is worth it to prevent the procurement of poor quality medical equipment and drugs used by every Bhutanese, only so that a powerful few can make a commission.
It is worth it to prevent large tracts of government land being offered to rich foreigners so that a connected few in Bhutan can get rich.
It is worth it so that you can help fracture the unholy nexus between big politics and big business.
It is worth it so that you can expose the big scourge of policy corruption that threatens to legalize corruption, and make it impossible for even ACC and the courts to prosecute it.
It is worth it because you can help people lose their long held fears and finally speak out.
It is worth it because you can defend your country’s interests.
It is worth it because you can fight for human rights and dignity.
It is worth it because you can address taboo subjects like racism, among others, and hope to bring about change.
It is worth it because you can help change and mould your country at this crucial juncture for the better.
It is worth it because you can finally let the powerful and the corrupt know that the power is now with the people.
It is worth it to make such an example of the powerful and corrupt that all future politicians and others think ten times before engaging in similar brazen acts.
It is worth it for all of the above and so much more.
Yes, a few politicians, powerful figures and their many vocal supporters ( we still live in a largely patronage society) will judge you harshly, but do remember that history will be much fairer and kinder.
By Tenzing Lamsang
The writer is the Editor of the paper