Ravish Kumar received the inaugural Gauri Lankesh National Journalism Award in Bengaluru on Sunday.

If you love democracy you will have to fight the media Journalist Ravish Kumar
news Media Monday, September 23, 2019 - 14:38

Journalist and Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Ravish Kumar was awarded the inaugural Gauri Lankesh National Award for Journalism at a ceremony in Bengaluru on Sunday. The award was announced on September 5 on the second death anniversary of Gauri Lankesh by the Gauri Memorial Trust.

Speaking while receiving the award, Ravish Kumar, the Managing Editor of NDTV India, said that the award was not a cause for celebration. "I cannot comprehend how the people living in Bengaluru who consider themselves broad-minded can live with the fact that a reporter was shot dead on the streets. The death of a journalist is the death of the democratic system on which you trust and step outside your house thinking there is a system to protect you."

He also chose to focus his speech on the debate surrounding the imposition of Hindi over other languages in the country. "There is no need to fear those who impose Hindi. It cannot be the language that unites the country. In the Hindi speaking states, there are no good universities or education. The number of Hindi speakers appearing for UPSC exams have reduced and in Uttar Pradesh, 10 lakh students failed Hindi...A taxi driver in Bengaluru knows up to five languages and there is something we can learn from that," Ravish said.

Ravish also saved a few words for the Indian media, which he said, is killing the spirit of democracy. "If you love democracy, you will have to fight the media. The media has long fought for democracy but today the situation has changed. Stop subscribing to newspapers, stop watching television channels and protest in the streets. It looks impossible today but tomorrow you will have to do it," said the television journalist.

He accused the mainstream media of not carrying voices of dissent, stating, “Many people who come to the streets to protest are those who have voted for the current government. The media is not carrying these voices. The people who are at the protest share the photos between themselves and post it on social media in the hope that it goes viral. The media is recording this but it is not publishing these stories. The mainstream media is busy telling the voter why we are better off under the current government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

The award was announced by the Gauri Memorial Trust and presented to Ravish by 102-year-old freedom fighter HS Doreswamy. An English news website in honour of Gauri Lankesh - www.gaurilankeshnews.com  - was also launched which will be managed by the trust. This is in addition to 'Nyaya Patha', the newspaper relaunched in memory of Gauri Lankesh.

Gauri Lankesh was murdered on September 5 2017 at her residence in Bengaluru allegedly by people who wanted to eliminate anti-Hindu forces. The murder shook the conscience of people across the country with thousands taking to the streets across the country, a week after the murder.

Two years since her murder, 18 people have been named in the chargesheet by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder. This includes six people, who are also named as accused in the murder of scholar and rationalist MM Kalburgi, which took place four years ago in Dharwad. These men were linked to the Sanatan Sanstha, a radical pro-Hindu group.

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