This Indonesian documentary filmmaker won the Emergent Leadership Category, in which they're the first organization to become an awardee.


Watchdoc, an Indonesian documentary filmmaker, is among one of the recipients for the 2021 Ramon Magsaysay Award that was held on Tuesday (31/8/2021). They won the Emergent Leadership Category in this award that is often called as the ‘Asian Nobel’.

Until 2021, there are 314 individuals and 26 organizations from 22 countries that have received the Ramon Magsaysay Award. Watchdoc is the only one to become an awardee for the Emergent Leadership Category. Before, every single awardee for this category were all individuals.

“We are very surprised and happy, but we also feel that we are not that ‘far’. But with a humble heart, we accept this award,” said one of the founders of Watchdoc, Andhy Panca Kurniawan.

As stated in the official Ramon Magsaysay Award media kit, Watchdoc won this award for its highly principled crusade for an independent media organization. Also for its energetic use of investigative journalism, documentary filmmaking, and digital technology in its effort to transform Indonesia’s media landscape, and its commitment to a vision of the people themselves as makers of the media and shapers of their own world.

Other than that, Watchdoc’s documentary production was considered as a form of a new and creative investigative journalism that highlighted many important things from social, environmental, and also human rights issues.


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Meanwhile, Dandhy Dwi Laksono, the other founder of Watchdoc said that this award is not only a surprise but also become an energy booster for them.

“We think this award was given not because we have done something, but instead to trigger us to do something,” Dandhy said.

Furthermore, Dandhy mentioned this award as more of a social contract. He hopes that this award could push them to work harder and make many more documentary films for public advocacy.

The same thing was said by Watchdoc’s senior producer Ari Trismana. He said that they won’t be able to get this award solely because of their hard work.

Ari noted that there is a lot of courage given by the subjects willing to tell their stories for the documentaries. Their courage was not without risk, which made them worthy of appreciation.

He also mentioned the merit of the communities who are willing to make independent shows for Watchdoc documentary films. They are the true heroes of Watchdoc’s documentary distribution.


More than 300 documentaries

Since its establishment in 2009, Watchdoc has made at least 300 documentary movies. Some of them gained international attention and maybe very familiar, like Sexy Killers, Tenggelam dalam Diam, The Endgame, Dilarang Sakit, Pulau Plastik, and Alkinemokiye.

This award is, of course, not their only international award. In 2012, Watchdoc got a Screen Below the Wind award from Southeast Asia Documentary Film Festival. Then in January 2021, they got Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.


What is The Ramon Magsaysay Award?

The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established in 1958. It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the seventh Philippine president after whom the award is named.

Every year, the Philippine’s Magsaysay Foundation awards are given to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late Filipino leader.

Besides Watchdoc, there are four other awardees for this year’s Ramon Magsaysay award. First, there’s a Bangladeshi scientist Firdaus Qadri who developed vaccinations for many diseases. Next is Pakistan’s Amjad Saqib who made a zero percent credit for millions of poor people. And from the Philippines, there’s a 53-year-old fisherman called Roberto Ballon. Ballon was given this award for his efforts to save the livelihoods of thousands of other fishermen through the marine and coastal conservation movement.

Lastly, a man named Steven Muncy was given this award. For decades, he has worked for people affected by war, natural disasters, and social conflicts in Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and the Philippines.


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Not only Watchdoc

Other than Watchdoc, there are 27 people and organizations from Indonesia who have received this award in multiple categories. There are novelists, cultural figures, social organizations, and also educators. Here they are:

  1. Watchdoc, 2021
  2. Abdon Nababan, 2017
  3. Dompet Dhuafa, 2016
  4. Saur Marlina Manurung, 2014
  5. Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK), 2013
  6. Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto, 2012 Hasaini Juaini, 2011
  7. Tri Mumpuni, 2011
  8. Ahmad Syafii Maarif, 2008
  9. Teten Masduki, 2005
  10. Dita Indah Sari, 2001
  11. Atmakusumah Astraatmadja, 2000
  12. Pramoedya Ananta Toer, 1995
  13. Abdurrahman Wahid, 1993
  14. Hans Bague Jassin, 1987
  15. Aloysius Benedictus, 1986
  16. Nafsiah Walinono Mboi, 1986
  17. Anton Soedjarwo, 1983
  18. Johanna Sunarti Nasution, 1981
  19. Raden Wasito, 1979
  20. Soedjatmoko, 1978
  21. Benjamin Galstaun, 1977
  22. Hans Westenberg, 1972
  23. Ali Sadikin, 1971
  24. Harley Koesna Poeradiredja, 1962
  25. Raden Kodijat, 1961
  26. Mochtar Lubis, 1958
#THE S MEDIA #Media Milenial #Watchdoc #Ramon Magsaysay Award #Asian Nobel