Ravish Kumar Thanks Trolls After Winning Ramon Magsaysay Award

The award citation noted ‘his unfaltering commitment to professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards.’

3 min read
Senior Indian journalist Ravish Kumar was on Friday, 2 August, awarded this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Senior Indian journalist Ravish Kumar was on Friday, 2 August, awarded this year's Ramon Magsaysay Award for “his unfaltering commitment to a professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards.”

Kumar, 44, works as NDTV India’s senior executive editor and is among five individuals to be declared winners of what is widely considered Asia's premier prize and highest honour, that celebrates greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia.

After receiving the award, Kumar thanked his trolls for the award. He said that when he got the call about the award from a Philippines phone number, he actually mistook the person for a troll. Not understanding what was being said, he said that he asked a colleague if she wanted to listen in on the kind of language trolls often used for him!

“Every award has a context. This came at a tough time, when values are scattered everywhere. It is difficult to maintain your values and believe in them in such times. Especially when you are told that what you are doing is irrelevant to the present scenario.”
Ravish Kumar, Senior Journalist

He, however said that good deeds are always relevant, irrespective of the ongoing trends. Ravish further urged fellow journalists to keep raising their voice even if they are scared. “When you play along with the fear for long is when you overcome it,” he said.

Further, he said that he doesn’t remember the last time he did what was told.

The awards will be formally conferred in a ceremony on 31 August while the winners were announced in an event in Manila on Friday morning.

‘If You Have Become the Voice of People, You Are a Journalist’

The citation for the award chronicled Kumar’s rise from a field reporter for NDTV in Bihar, when he joined in 1996, to a senior executive editor at present.

After NDTV launched its 24-hour Hindi-language news channel – NDTV India – targeting the country's 422 million native Hindi speakers, he was given his own daily show, 'Prime Time.'

Kumar's 'Prime Time' programme deals with “real-life, under-reported problems of ordinary people", the award citation added.

“As an anchor, Kumar is sober, incisive, and well-informed,” it said.

His more important distinction, however, comes from the kind of journalism he represents, the citation added.

“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,’ ‘tabloidisation,’ 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.”
Ramon Magsaysay Award Citation on Ravish Kumar

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.

Twitter Erupts in Praise for Kumar

Several journalists took to Twitter to congratulate Kumar on the well-deserved award and for being an inspiration to aspiring journalists.

From former Congress President Rahul Gandhi to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, people from the political sphere also took their good wishes for the senior journalist to Twitter.

He was lauded for his courageous journalism and for his pro-eople reporting.

The four other winners of the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award are Ko Swe Win from Myanmar, Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand, Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from Philippines and Kim Jong-Ki from South Korea.

Established in 1957, the award 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.

(With inputs from PTI)

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