NDTV's Ravish Kumar on Monday was conferred the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for "harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless" and his "unfaltering commitment to a professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards". Ravish Kumar is among the five recipients of the 2019 Magsaysay award, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel, which recognises the "greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia".
"I hope audiences will value truthfulness in reporting, and the diversity of voices and platforms. A democracy can thrive only as long as its news is truthful," he said, in his acceptance speech at the ceremony held in Manila. "We have always measured inequality in terms of health and economy, but it is time for us to now also measure knowledge inequality," he added.
Ravish Kumar, 44, is NDTV India's Managing Editor. His show 'Prime Time' reports real-life and under-reported problems of ordinary people.
The citation for the award 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.
Calling the crisis in the Indian media a "structural" problem, Ravish Kumar said, "Being a journalist has become a solitary endeavour as uncompromising journalists find themselves being forced out of their jobs by news organisations."
"Nevertheless, it's heartening to see that we are still survived by those few who are putting their lives and careers at risk to practice honest journalism," he added.
"I accept it because this award is for all those readers and viewers who continue to live in areas of knowledge inequality but have a thirst for good and truthful information and knowledge. Many young journalists are attentive to this thirst. In the times to come, they will change the meaning of journalism from what it has become today. It is possible that they may lose the battle, but there is no other way left apart from resistance. Not all battles are fought for victory - some are fought to tell the world that someone was there on the battlefield," Ravish Kumar said.
Named after the third president of Philippines after World War II, the Ramon Magsaysay Award recognises "greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia". The four other winners for this year's award are Ko Swe Win from Myanmar, Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand, Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from Philippines and Kim Jong-Ki from South Korea.
Other prominent winners of the Magsaysay award from India are R K Laxman, P Sainath, Arun Shourie, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal.