London — NDTV journalist Ravish Kumar has been honoured with the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award — the highest honour given to Asian individuals and organisations and often referred to as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize.
Besides Ravish Kumar, Myanmar-based journalist Ko Swe Win, Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand, Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from Philippines and Kim Jong Ki from South Korea were also honoured with the prestigious prize.
Ravish Kumar, born in Jitwarpur village in Bihar, 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.”
Kumar’s “Prime Time” programme “deals with real-life, under-reported problems of ordinary people”, it added. “If you have become the voice of the people, you are a journalist,” the citation added.
His programme takes up current social issues; does serious background research; and presents issues in well-rounded discussions. Kumar interacts easily with the poor, travels extensively, and uses social media to stay in touch with the audience, generating from them the stories for the programme. Striving for a people-based journalism, he calls his newsroom “the people’s newsroom,” it said.
In electing Kumar to receive the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognises 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, the award citation said.
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour. It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine president after whom the award is named, and is given every year to individuals or organisations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.