By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, August 2, 2019: Ravish Kumar of New Delhi Television or NDTV has been named for the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for “harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless.”
Kumar is among the five recipients of the 2019 Magsaysay award, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel, which recognizes the “greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia.”
The citation describes Ravish Kumar as a sober, incisive and well-informed anchor who has been most vocal on insisting that the professional values of balanced, fact-based reporting be upheld in practice. “If you have become the voice of the people, you are a journalist,” it says.
The four other winners are Ko Swe Win from Myanmar, Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand, Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from Philippines and Kim Jong-Ki from South Korea.
“In electing Ravish Kumar to receive the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes his unfaltering commitment to a professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards; his moral courage in standing up for truth, integrity, and independence; and his principled belief that it is in giving full and respectful voice to the voiceless, in speaking truth bravely yet soberly to power, that journalism fulfills its noblest aims to advance democracy,” says the citation by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation.
Referring to Ravish Kumar’s news program “Prime Time,” the foundation says it deals with real-life, under-reported problems of ordinary people.
“Striving for a people-based journalism, he calls his newsroom ‘the people’s newsroom’. He is most vocal on insisting that the professional values of sober, balanced, fact-based reporting be upheld in practice,” it says.
Kumar, who has been with NDTV since 1996, has often faced threats for his fearless plain-speak.
Raised in Jitwarpur in Bihar, Kumar pursued his early interest in history and public affairs at the Delhi University.
“He does not balk at calling the highest officials to account or criticizing media and the state of public discourse in the country; for this reason, he has been harassed and threatened by rabid partisans of one kind or another,” acknowledges the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation.
Other notable winners of the Magsaysay award in the past are RK Laxman, P Sainath, Arun Shourie, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal. “Welcome Ravish to the club of Magsaysay awardees and hope to see his brave journalism go from strength to strength in these difficult times,” Kejriwal tweeted.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established in 1957 to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.
The prize was established by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government. The award is is the highest award given to Asian individuals and organizations.
In May 1957, seven prominent Filipinos were named to the founding board of trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, the non-profit corporation tasked with implementing the awards program. Later on, the board of trustees diversified and included prominent Asians from all over the Asian continent and outlying islands.
The RMAF recognizes and honors individuals and organizations in Asia regardless of race, creed, sex, or nationality, who have achieved distinction in their respective fields and have helped others generously without anticipating public recognition.
The awards have traditionally been given in five categories: government service; public service; community leadership; journalism, literature, and creative communication arts; and peace and international understanding.
(With inputs from ndtv.com)