NDTV journalist Ravish Kumar has been chosen for the Ramon Magsaysay Award this year.
Kumar, NDTV India Managing Editor who has been with the company since 1996, is the only Indian among the five recipients of the award this year. The four others are Ko Swe Win, a journalist based in Myanmar; Thailand’s Angkhana Neelapajit; Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab of Philippines; and South Korea’s Kim Jong Ki.
The citation for Kumar said he has been awarded for “harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless”.
It stated, “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.”
It also appreciated Kumar’s style of journalism: “As an anchor, Ravish is sober, incisive, and well-informed. He does not dominate his guests but affords them the chance to express themselves. He does not balk, however, 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.”
It recognised his perseverance, saying “Through all the perils and aggravations, Ravish has remained consistent in his effort to preserve and widen the space for a critical, socially responsible media…”
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is considered one of the most prestigious awards in Asia.
Congratulating Kumar, NDTV founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy said in a statement that everyone at the news network is “deeply happy and proud” and “in fact not just NDTV, India is proud of Ravish and his journalism”.
They said it takes “enormous courage and strength to be the journalist that Ravish is” and to “give that unique ‘voice to the voiceless’ and to fight for the truth”. They mentioned the threats faced by Kumar “to silence that voice” and said he had “consistently fought intimidation, bullying and hatred that we all know is the antithesis of true India”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, also an awardee, tweeted: “Welcome Ravish to the club of Magsaysay awardees and hope to see his brave journalism go from strength to strength in these difficult times”. Other Indians who have won the award earlier include cartoonist R K Laxman, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi and journalist-turned-politician Arun Shourie.