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.
Kumar, the 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.
These are the five recipients of Asia’s premier prize and highest honor, the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees. #RamonMagsaysayAward pic.twitter.com/HrLG1qVt6L
— Ramon Magsaysay Award (@MagsaysayAward) August 2, 2019
The citation for Kumar said he has been awarded for harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless. He hosts a number of programs including the NDTV Hindi’s flagship weekday show Prime Time, Hum Log and Ravish Ki Report.
The citation 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…”
Breaking news this morning: NDTV’s @ravishndtv to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award for journalism.. a tribute to his courageous spirit and unique story telling.. many many congrats to a friend and former colleague..
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 2, 2019
After the announcement of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is considered one of the most prestigious awards in Asia, Kumar participated in a live chat. While responding to a question, he alleged that a majority of the media is fuelling communalism and divide.
He also said it is “very difficult” for real and neutral media to survive because media needs corporate finances and therefore, it is difficult for it to remain neutral. “There is more control over the media now. That is why this fight is being fought only by a few institutions and journalists. But this should not be the case, it should also be a fight of big institutions. So, it is not easy for neutral journalism will survive,” said Kumar.
Ravish Kumar was born in Motihari, Bihar on 5 December 1974. His high school education was obtained from Loyola High School (Patna). Later he moved to Delhi for higher studies. He graduated from Deshbandhu College University of Delhi. Eventually he enrolled in post-graduate diploma in Hindi Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. But he soon dropped out from the programme.
He has been twice conferred with Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award for the Best Journalist of the Year and became the fifth Indian journalist to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
He received the prestigious Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Award for Hindi Journalism and Creative Literature for 2010 from the President of India (awarded in 2014). He was honoured with the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award for the Journalist of the Year in 2013 and 2017 for the broadcast category in Hindi language.
Ravish Kumar was included in the list of 100 most influential Indians 2016 by The Indian Express. He was named the best journalist of the year in 2016 by Mumbai Press Club. In March 2017, Kumar was honoured with the first Kuldip Nayar journalism award for his contribution to the field of journalism. Ravish Kumar won the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award.
Ravish Kumar is married to Nayana Dasgupta, and both have a daughter who teaches history at the Lady Shri Ram College.
The Magsaysay Award winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the image of the late Filipino leader Ramon Magsaysay, and a cash prize. They will be conferred with the Magsaysay Award during a formal presentation ceremony at a later date.