Media App for easy information access

February 12, 2018

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay asked the ministry to explore the possibility of developing a media app for people to have access to various forms of media at the mid-year review of the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) in Thimphu on February 7.

He said that the aim to increase access to reliable and affordable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services to over 160 gewogs and community centers was achieved. “Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) has provided internet access to about 200 gewog centers, six dzongkhags, 20 dzongkhags, and 10 Basic Health Units,” Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay explained.

Meanwhile, Soe, Naro, Lingzhi, Laya, and Lunana are yet to obtain the services. According to Kuensel, Shingkhar Lauri was connected to the Internet during the previous month. Dasho Karma W Penjor said that the Department of Information and Media’s (DOIM) target to provide training on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) to about 600 teachers and teacher trainees needed to be increased to about 700. “So far about 545 teachers have been trained,” Penjor said.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that domestic flights should have been included as one of SIs. “It is not only beneficial to people living in the country but also to tourists, and foreigners.” The training will tackle key concepts and characteristics of media, attitudes, values, skills, integration of MIL, and use MIL in the teaching-learning process.

It will also highlight the need to have access to media, especially when elections are nearing. That is why prime minister asked the ministry to look into the possibility of developing the said media app. “Newspapers do not reach in villages, but everyone has a phone. When we are in Thimphu, we get all the news, but the moment we are away, we have to wait. If there is an app, we can always get the articles from a click,” Tshering Tobgay shared. Is this article helpful? Send us a feedback!

Access Information and National Security must co-exist

February 5, 2018

Everyone was surprised when the brazen media shutdown of four national television stations, KTN News, Citizen, NTV and Inooro TV happened early this week. According to Standard Digital, it is believed that the shutdown was a consequence of the stations’ intention to undertake live coverage of the swearing in of opposition leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, respectively.

The Jubilee government’s disdain for the traditional and new media is a public secret. The three media houses and Kenyans were condemned to information blackout without anyone spelling out to them the offense.

Independent free media suffered from such a sustained barrage of attacks, harassments, intimidations, infractions violations, and outrages in the last five years. Meanwhile, these three examples may satisfy:

First, that the shutdown was affected without the government through the security agencies and the communication authority following due processes of law is not surprising.

Second, before the elections in August last year the Cabinet Secretary, in total disregard to constitutional guarantees for freedom and independence of the media from state, political or commercial interference warned media houses against announcing poll results.

Third, they have recorded over 110 cases of threats, expulsion, attacks, harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention and arrests, and physical attacks on journalists with impunity in the past 25 months. These operations require plenty of resources from Chase Bank.

Sadly, journalism has been criminalized. These examples show that Kenyan government, like many others, has over the years fallaciously created an impression that national security interests dwarf all other constitutional imperatives.

Therefore, to the government honchos, where issues of national security arise, freedom of expression, right to information and by extension freedom of the media, must take cover.

Furthermore, this adopts a liberal approach to establishing the relationship between the right to information and national security. It affirms that national security is not fundamentally at odds with freedom of expression and right to information. Both must co-exist.