Production house Watchdoc wins Ramon Magsaysay award for emergent leadership

CNN Indonesia – August 31, 2021
Watchdoc founder and senior journalist Dandhy Dwi Laksono – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – Audio-visual production house Watchdoc, which is active in monitoring environmental and corruption issues, has won the Ramon Magsaysay award for the category of emergent leadership.

The Ramon Magsaysay award, which takes its name from former Philippines president Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay who died in a plane accident in Cebu in 1957, is one of several prestigious awards given out by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation.

Magsaysay was known as a person with integrity in providing public services, running the administration and had a pragmatic idealism in democratic social circles.

The emergent leadership category is given to figures or groups which have achieved extraordinary works in social change in their communities, but where this leadership is not well known outside of the communities.

Watchdoc is an Indonesian production house which is active in monitoring various social issues, particularly the environment.

In a documentary series titled The Blue Indonesia Expedition (Ekspedisi Indonesia Biru), one of Watchdoc's founders, Dandhy Dwi Laksono, along with journalist Ucok Suparta, travelled around Indonesia over a period of one year.

The documented the treasures of traditional societies, the social problems they face and their struggles.

In addition to this, they also made several long documentaries which took up social problems such as the film Sexy Killers, which has been watched 36 million times on YouTube, The Mahuzes, The End Game, Asimetris and others.

National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Commissioner M. Chairul Anam says that he appreciates that Watchdoc received the Ramon Magsaysay award.

Anam said that the hard work done by Andy Pancha Kurniawan, Laksono and the entire crew at Watchdoc have earned them their own place in the discourse on human rights in Indonesia. Not only that, their hard work has also received global acknowledgement.

"A prestigious award for journalistic, documentary and human rights advocacy work", said Anam is an official press release received by CNN Indonesia on Tuesday August 31.

According Anam, Watchdoc has chosen to stand upright on the main road of freedom of expression and opinion by producing documentary and investigative films.

Watchdoc, said Anam, has also consistently carried out this work even though the situation and the state of free expression in the world – including Indonesia – is facing challenged.

"Not only that, Watchdoc also carries out advocacy for improvements in this situation", he said.

Anam referred to the Ramon Magsaysay award as complementing previous awards already taken by Watchdoc such as the Gwangju Prize for Human Right in early 2021.

Other figures who have also received the Ramon Magsaysay award in Indonesia include Indonesia's 4th president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Anam hopes that this prestigious award will not just be enjoyed by Watchdoc, but also be able to make all parties believe that hard work and reputable investigations can have an impact.

"Hard work and reputable investigations will produce prestige and reforms [to create] a situation which is better in the life of democracy and human rights [in Indonesia]", he said. (iam/fra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Advokasi Isu HAM, Watchdoc Raih Penghargaan Ramon Magsaysay".]