A warm up session on freedom of expression
September 30: Possibly for the first time in Bhutanese history that government initiated debate on freedom of expression, independence and pluralism on which media thrives, recently in Thimphu.
The gathering sponsored by UNESCO was called by the Ministry of Information and Communication where representatives from the sponsoring UN agency, government and media outlets attended, primarily was called to identify key characteristics of the media environment in the new democracy.
Speakers advised government for more media freedom that will help bridge government-media link, thus keeping government in touch with people. However, owing to the small size population, it was also opined that extensive studies are required to assess the impacts of the free media.
The gathering was a warm up session for developing an assessment strategy and action plan for media promotion in the country, draw a memorandum of understanding between the Department of Information and Media (DoIM), UNESCO, UNDP and SEAPA, and report key achievements and concept for implementation.
The attendees cited the General Conference Resolution of UNESCO which encourages the free flow of information, at international as well as national levels, to promote the wider and better dissemination of information, without any obstacle to freedom of expression, and to strengthen communication capacities in the developing countries in order to increase their participation in the communication process.
Information and Communication secretary Kinely Dorji, hinted at accepted the norms and values as prescribed by the resolution.