NDTV's Ravish Kumar, who won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award 2019, delivered a speech on "The Power of Citizen's journalism to Advance Democracy", in the Philippines.
Ravish received the award for "harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless" and his "unfaltering commitment to professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards".
Later this month, on September 22, he is also set to receive another award, the first Gauri Lankesh Memorial Award that was announced on September 5, on the occasion of the latter journalist’s second death anniversary.
In his Manila speech, Kumar spoke about the current 'testing times' for journalists and common citizens. He said, "I believe that in today's times when the attack on our citizenship is all-encompassing and the state's surveillance apparatus is more overbearing than ever, the individuals or groups who are able to withstand this onslaught and emerge stronger from it, will be the ones who lay the foundation for a better citizenry and for that matter, maybe even better governments in the future."
He stressed on the need for 'free flow of verifiable information'. "The state today has established full control over the media and the corporations. The implication of this control over the media and in turn your information flow is that it limits and narrows the scope of your citizenship. In other words, the media controls diversity of the news stories, and specifies what interpretation of news events are acceptable. The media is now a part of the surveillance state. It isn't the fourth estate anymore, but the first estate," the journalist said in his hard-hitting speech.
He also urged citizens to be democratic. "We are in urgent need of Citizen Journalists during today's times but even more than that we need the Citizen Democratic." he stated.