- NDTV's Ravish Kumar gave "voice to voiceless", says Magsaysay citation
- "Most vocal on insisting professional values... be upheld", it said
- Four others also received the 2019 Magsaysay Award
NDTV's Ravish Kumar has been named for 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".
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.
"In a media environment threatened by an interventionist state, toxic with jingoist partisans, trolls and purveyors of fake news, and where the competition for market ratings has put the premium on 'media personalities', 'tabloidization' and audience-pandering sensationalism, Ravish has been most vocal on insisting that the professional values of sober, balanced, fact-based reporting be upheld in practice."
Referring to Ravish Kumar's news programme "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.
Ravish Kumar, who has been with NDTV since 1996, has often faced threats for his fearless plain-speak. Raised in Jitwarpur in Bihar, Ravish 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," Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
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