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Sober, Incisive, Well-Informed: NDTV’s Ravish Kumar Wins Ramon Magsaysay Award

Kumar won the award for "harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless."

“Sober, incisive, and well-informed” are not epithets one usually associates with television news in India — which, at its best is a bunch of loud talking heads crammed into a screen, and at its worst is insidious pro-government propaganda. But NDTV‘s Ravish Kumar is an outlier in that department. NDTV India‘s Prime Time show, Ravish Kumar was one of the five winners of the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Awards.

Per the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Kumar won the award for “harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless”. The foundation, in its citation, added that “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.

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The citation praised Kumar’s show for taking up current social issues, doing serious background research; and presenting issues in well-rounded discussions. “The program deals with real-life, under-reported problems of ordinary people — from the lives of manual scavengers and rickshaw-pullers to the plight of government employees and displaced farmers, to underfunded state schools and the inefficient railway system,” it read.

The foundation also wrote, “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.”

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The Magsaysay Award, established in 1957, celebrates “greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia.”

The other winners of the Magsaysay Award this year were Myanmar journalist Ko Swe Win, Thai rights activist Angkhana Neelapaijit, South Korean activist Kim Jong-ki and Filipino musician Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab. The awards will be presented in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, on September 9.

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