PM asks media to question SC verdict

Published on Mar 16 2011 // Media Monitor

The first constitutional case, which dragged on for months, served as a litmus to all the democratic institutions. It was no exception for the Bhutanese media, or so Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley said.

During the press conference yesterday, where he declared the government will stay on, Lyonchhoen said the media should go beyond the legislature to question and hold all the organs of the government responsible.

Supreme Court, Thimphu, Bhutan

“You must question what the government does, especially those actions and decisions that have a bearing on the society in general and long term interest of the country,” he said. “But you shouldn’t fail to do the same for every organ of the government.”

The prime minister said media, initially, did not do that in the case of judiciary.

“This was the most important decision of the judiciary since democracy was established but you never questioned it,” he said, adding media accepted unquestioningly the verdict of the High Court and then the Supreme Court.

“The lesson that I hope you’ll have learnt is that they could also go wrong,” he said.

By questioning and not taking verdict of the courts at face value, he said media must educate the people. In turn, the people, in the exercise of their political powers and as responsible citizens, are expected to inquire and doubt and, through this, create conditions whereby all agents of the government acted with greater responsibility.

He said by questioning the verdict of the courts, they would become a little more responsible and make less mistakes in the future.

“Why only the government or the state?” he said. “You must do this for all organs of the government, including private sector, equally and in the same way.”

“If you don’t question, in this particular case, the government would have been found to be fully wrong only by virtue of an interpretation that deserves to be questioned,” he said.

In the entirety, he said, just as the government will become stronger in terms of its conviction, in terms of its caution, with respect to the need to abide by the laws of the country in every way possible, he was confident the two courts and the judiciary will also become stronger.

“The lesson that we learnt from this process will be ways and means in which we can make the democracy all the more stronger,” the Lyonchhoen said.

Courtesy : The Kuensel, March 16, 2011