Malaysian journalist becomes first Asian to win Canada’s top journalism award

Mark Ryan Raj

Former Malay Mail and New Straits Times journalist Fabian Dawson added another feather to his cap as he was named the first-ever Asian recipient of Canada’s top journalism award. — Picture courtesy of Fabian Dawson

PETALING JAYA, Sept 24 — Malaysian journalist Fabian Dawson has been named as the recipient of the Bruce Hutchinson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dawson, who began his career here in Malaysia at New Straits Times and Malay Mail, will receive the award, which is one of the top North American journalism accolades, at this year’s Jack Webster Awards set for November 7. 

He becomes the first-ever Asian to receive the award that is chosen by an independent juried process, which recognises the careers of senior reporters and editors in Canada who have received distinction in their communities for work of long-lasting significance, fairness, clarity and innovation. 

“I am humbled and honoured to be awarded the 2019 Jack Webster Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, it’s indeed a privilege to be the first Asian-Canadian to win this award,” said Dawson in a press statement. 

“I guess it’s fitting that I am in Malaysia, as this news breaks, the birthplace of my journalism career.”

Born and raised in Malaysia, Dawson’s career has spanned more than four decades in both Asia and British Columbia.

He has made a major impact on both Canadian and Asian industries thanks to the fundamentals that he learned back home from his mentor and veteran journalist at Malay Mail, Frankie D’Cruz, to whom he credits much of his success. 

Dawson is set to receive the Bruce Hutchinson Lifetime Achievement Award and the Bill Good Award at this year’s Jack Webster Awards. — Picture courtesy of Fabian Dawson

“In the Malay Mail and New Straits Times, where I spent much of my career, I was always taught to tell the story from the perspective of the people impacted rather than the prism of politicians, police and special interest groups,” he said. 

“This has always been fundamental to me.”

Dawson immigrated to Vancouver, Canada in 1988, where he became the deputy editor-in-chief of The Province newspaper and also the editor of, which was Canada’s largest South Asian news portal at the time.

He now serves as the editorial advisor to the Vancouver-based South Asian Post, Asian Pacific Post and Filipino Post newspapers as well the Market One Media Group and several publications in Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Philippines and England.

Dawson has won several American, Canadian and English newspaper awards, such as the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, Unsung Hero of Canadian Journalism, Daniel Pearl Award and Rolls-Royce Journalism Award. 

His work in India has also led to the creation of four documentary films and a made-for-TV movie, as he is a regular on various TV and radio talk shows, and is a regular guest lecturer at various schools of journalism. 

Dawson is also a sought-after media commentator on media affairs and has been called to speak in Canada’s House of Commons on matters of national security. 

Currently, Dawson is working on a Netflix series based on his investigative journalism, as he has led a number of award-winning investigative series in the past such as Abandoned Brides: Canada’ Shame, India’s Sorrow.

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