Editor of the daily Prothom Alo Matiur Rahman has won this year's Ramon Magsaysay award along with five others from South and Southeast Asian countries.
Matiur has been honored with the prestigious award for his crusade against acid-throwing on Bangladesh women. He won the award for journalism, literature and creative communication arts. The foundation praised "his wielding the power of the press to crusade against acid throwing to stir Bangladeshis to help its many victims."
About 300 people, most of them young women, are permanently disfigured every year in Bangladesh in attacks often motivated by spite after victims deny the attackers sex, marriage or suitable dowries. In prominent daily appeals, Matiur declared war on acid throwers and called upon his readers to contribute to the Prothom Alo Aid Fund for acid victims. By June 2005, about Tk 8.2 million had been given to over 100 victims.
Matiur Rahman plans to donate the prize money ($50,000) for the victims of acid throwing, oppressed journalists and for anti-drug campaign in Bangladesh.