Senior Journalist Ravish Kumar on Monday received the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay award, regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize, in Manila, Philippines. Accepting the award, Ravish pointed out that the Indian media is in a state of “crisis” which is not accidental or random, but “systemic and structural”.
Ravish, who is the Managing Editor and news anchor with NDTV, said, “Indian media is in a state of crisis and this crisis is not accidental or random, but systemic and structural. Being a journalist has become a solitary endeavour.”
Kumar was among five individuals who were declared winners of the award, which is Asia’s premier prize and highest honour and celebrates the greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia. The four other winners of the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award are Ko Swe Win from Myanmar, Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand, Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from the Philippines and Kim Jong-Ki from South Korea.
Born in Jitwarpur village in Bihar, Kumar joined New Delhi Television Network (NDTV) in 1996 and worked his way up from being a field reporter. After NDTV launched its 24-hour Hindi-language news channel – NDTV India – targeting the country’s 422 million native speakers of Hindi, he was given his own daily show “Prime Time.”
Talking about the hardship the journalists faced while reporting in Kashmir amid the clampdown after the abrogation of Article 370, Ravish said, “With the internet shut down in Kashmir, news channels abided by the government’s stand. Yet, we should also account for those who have dared to report from within that shutdown and face the wrath of the army of trolls. While journalism as an organization may have tinkered into non-existence, journalists continue to survive.”
Earlier, while giving his acceptance speech on Friday, Ravish had said that the “soul of democracy is under relentless attack every day”. “We are living in testing times, as journalists and as common citizens. Our citizenship itself is on trial right now and make no mistake about it, we need to fight back,” Ravish had told the gathering.