Bhutan PM To Conduct Weekly Press Conference, While Indian PM Yet To Conduct Even One In 4.5 Yrs
On December 7, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering arranged the first “Meet Our PM” in the courtyard of the National Assembly Hall, Gyalyong Tshokhang. He announced that from now on, for the first three weeks of every month, PM Tshering will meet the media persons every Friday and on the last Friday of the month, “Meet the Press” session will take broad questions on a specific theme.
“Meet our PM”
The main aim of these sessions is to ward off the possibility of misreporting and misinformation. Even on the first day, PM Tshering said that the main concern for the government has been the possibility of spreading misinformation and fake news. As per Asia News Network, he said, “The government and media would have excellent relations for the next five years if the media do not misinform. Otherwise, we’ll have problems.”
PM Tshering maintained that the government was keen on working with the media to create awareness about its policies, programmes and in the press conference, statements on issues which may require attention will be given. He further added that there was a little scope for opinions in media and when if made, they should be based on concrete evidence. He said, “What we do is for the country. The country should benefit from our decisions and people should be informed. We are all Bhutanese. Bhutanese must know Bhutan and the government and its policies.”
Meeting with the press will be held every Friday for the first three weeks of the month where announcements regarding government policies and statements on issues which may require attention will be given. The last Friday of the month, the PM will take broad questions and at the National Assembly conference hall.
Media and India’s PM
If one were to compare this against India’s PM Modi’s interaction and relationship with the country’s media, the results are disappointing. PM Modi, in his four-and-half-year tenure, has not held even a single press conference. To add to this, as per The Wire, PM Modi has also done away with the tradition of having a press advisor, a point person for the media. Interestingly, before PM Modi, all Prime Ministers have had a press advisor.
PM Modi’s only means of public interaction seems to be through his Social media handles or the radio monologue “Mann Ki Baat”. On December 5, Congress president Rahul Gandhi through a tweet challenged PM Modi to held press conferences.
Dear Mr Modi,
Now that campaigning is over, hope you can spare some time for your part-time job as PM.
Btw its been 1,654 days since u became PM. Still no press conference?
Some pics from our Hyderabad PC today. Try one someday, it’s fun having questions thrown at you! pic.twitter.com/Tc3I1kLGBI
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 5, 2018
In a recent development, in a response to a question posed by a Rajya Sabha member on the number of press conferences held by PM Modi, PMO is preparing a list. The list will include the press conferences held by NDA as a whole and not PM Modi alone, as reported by Livemint.
The Logical Indian Take
A constructive relationship between journalists and politicians involves both active participation by the politicians and relevant questioning by the journalists. The media needs to voice the concerns of the people and refrain from agenda-driven journalism. While The Logical Indian appreciates Bhutan’s PM for striving towards a healthy relationship with media, PM Modi also must take a cue and open himself to questions so that misinformation is avoided and the quality of debate is raised.