Journalist Association of Bhutan (JAB) hoisted its fourth Annual Journalism Award on May 3rd coinciding with the World Press Freedom Day. The event was graced by His Excellency Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Honourable Speaker, ministers, journalist from different media houses, representatives from various CSOs and event sponsors among other officials.
JAB recognised 20 journalists out of which eight was awarded to the print media (English), two to print (Dzongkha), three to television (English), three to television (Dzongkha), three to radio (English), two to radio (Dzongkha) and two special awards.
From the print media, Kuensel bagged four awards for Business story of the year which was secured by Tshering Dorji, Women and Children story by Nirmala Pokhrel, Crime story by Rajesh Rai and Best Editorial by Chencho Wangdi (Dzongkha). Business Bhutan, a private newspaper bagged three awards for Culture story of the year and Feature story which was secured by Krishna Ghalley, and the Editorial of the year (English) by Peky Samal.
The Bhutanese newspaper landed with two awards for the best investigative story of the year and a special award for the most promising young journalist of the year which was secured by Sonam Yangdon. Druk Neytshel, a private Dzongkha medium news outlet bagged for the feature story of the year in Dzongkha category, written by Choney Zangmo. Gopilal Acharya, a freelance journalist bagged an award for the environment story of the year.
In the television and radio category, Kinzang Loday and Tshering Penjor from BBS bagged the award for TV documentary Dzongkha and English respectively. Sherub Zangmo and Chhimi Dorji from BBS bagged the award for the best TV talk show in Dzongkha and English respectively. Phub Gyem bagged the award for the best TV news story in both Dzongkha and English. Thinley Penjor of Radio Valley and Sherub Tshomo from BBS bagged the award for the best radio documentary in English and Dzongkha respectively. Kinley Dorji and Tshering Tenzin from Kuzoo FM bagged the award for the best radio drama and Chayku from BBS for the best radio talk show in English.
Jigme Singye Wangchuck Prestigious Award was bagged by Karma Dorji from Bhutan Broadcasting Service after recognising his 29 years of remarkable contribution in the Bhutanese media.
Speaking at the event, His Excellency Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay said that the job of a journalist is not only important in keeping the nation informed but also includes numerous challenges. The president of JAB, Rinzin Wangchuk asserted to the Prime Minister on the need for short-term and long-term capacity building of the media professionals for a vibrant media and in response to this, Lyonchhen said that it is the responsibility of the government to support media in the country and urged JAB to write to the Minister of Information and Communications and other stakeholders like the cabinet and GNHC by following all the due process. Lyonchhen also said that if the proposal for training programme for the journalists is accepted, it could be incorporated in the 12th Five-Year Plan.
A press release from JAB stated that six new awards were introduced for the broadcast media this year, three each for television and radio. “Until 2017, there were three awards each for television and radio with English and Dzongkha entries competing for the same awards. This year, the number of entries increased to 125, up from 58 last year. The increase can be attributed to a journalist being allowed to submit entries for two categories unlike the previous years,” said Needrup Zangpo, the Executive Director of JAB.
This year’s AJA was supported by Bank of Bhutan, Bhutan Media Foundation, Bhutan National Bank, Druk Green Power Corporation, Department of Information and Media, Druk Holding and Investments, National Commission for Women and Children, Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority, Bhutan Power Corporation, Royal Monetary Authority, and UN Democracy Fund.