Two journalists among 2019 Ramon Magsaysay awardees
Two journalists were among the five winners for the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Awards on Friday.
Ravish Kumar of India and Ko Swe Win of Myamnmar joined the 61st batch of awardees of the "Asian Nobel Prize" for their advocacies in journalism.
Kumar and Win were announced by Ramon Magsaysay Foundation chairman Jose Cuisia Jr. as this year's awardees in a press conference Friday morning. Their awards will be handed out to them on Sept 7.
The three other winners were Kim Jong-Ki of South Korea, Angkhana Neelapaijit of Thailand, and Ryan Cayabyab from the Philippines.
Kumar was chosen for “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.”
Kumar is New Delhi Television Network (NDTV) India's senior executive editor. He hosts in his own daily show where he discuss social issues and real life, underreported problems of ordinary people.
He is known for giving voice to citizens through his programs. He strives to fight fake news and government propaganda by creating "people-based" journalism which he refers to as "the people's newsroom."
"One thing is very important. When the journalist loses his voice, the society becomes voiceless," Kumar told reporters through a Skype interview on Friday.
"This award will definitely help me and my viewers across the globe. In our side part of the world, news channels are being a propaganda machinery. In these times (the award) will definitely help to boost the morale of my media team," he added.
Win was recognized for “his undaunted commitment to practice independent, ethical, and socially engaged journalism in Myanmar; and his incorruptible sense of justice and unflinching pursuit of the truth in crucial but under-reported issues."
Win, who is set to receive the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, as chosen by the board of trustees for his efforts in promoting truth-telling in media and using the platform to protect human rights.
Win awardee is the editor-in-chief of Myanmar Now, an online news service. He was known for his criticism against ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu for purveying hate speech. His comments caused him to face suits for defamation and he later served a brief jail term.
"Intolerance and hostility towards different races and nationalities being exploited as a political weapon," is what Win sees as a growing problem. "Only the promotion of human rights can help us contain this deplorable trend," he added. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS