The fourth Annual Journalism Award (AJA) this year saw a total of 23 awards categories. However, six awards in the Dzongkha print and one for Dzongkha radio were canceled due to lack of quality measuring up to national standards. There were also no entries for the photojournalism award this year.
The Executive Director of Journalists’ Association of Bhutan (JAB), Needrup Zangpo, said that the awards were canceled citing lack of direct relevance of the stories to the subjects of the categories and also due to lack of reporting rigor the stories demonstrated.
However, Needrup Zangpo said that this year’s award-winning entries received special commendations from the juries.
The President of JAB, Rinzin Wangchuk, highlighted the need for training for Bhutanese journalists. Seeking the support of the government, he said that it has become critical to continuously build the capacity of younger reporters in light of many senior journalists leaving the profession.
The chief guest of the event, Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay assured his support to the media’s capacity building during his address at the award function and asked JAB to submit a letter to the Ministry of Information and Communications outlining long-term and short-term training journalists might need.
“We will see the prospects of including this in the 12 FYP,” said Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay.
The number of entries this year increased to 125 from 58 last year. The increase was attributed to journalists being allowed to submit entries for two categories, unlike the previous years.
The most prestigious award ‘Jigme Singye Wangchuck Prestigious Award’ was awarded to Karma Dorji from Bhutan Broadcasting Service Ltd. (BBS) who has been in the media for 29 years.
Similarly, six awards were claimed by the private media. Business Bhutan claimed three awards: the culture story of the year, the feature of the year and the editorial of the year, whereas The Bhutanese claimed the investigative story of the year and the most promising young journalist of the year. Druk Neytshuel claimed one award.
Additionally, Kuensel and BBS claimed four and two awards respectively.
This year’s Annual Journalism Award was supported by Bank of Bhutan (BOB), Bhutan Media Foundation (BMF), Bhutan National Bank (BNB), Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC), Department of Information and Media (DOIM), Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA), Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC), Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) and the UN Democracy Fund.
Annual Journalism Award is held every year on May 3 coinciding with the World Freedom Day. This year’s AJA saw over 130 individuals, including journalists, public officials and representatives of the event supporters.
Lucky Wangmo from Thimphu