Noted Hindi journalist and founder editor of ‘Jansatta,’ Prabhash Joshi, passed away here late last night following a heart attack. He was 72.

Beginning his career with ‘Nai Duniya,’ Mr. Joshi became the founder editor of ‘Jansatta’ in 1983. After retiring from ‘Jansatta’ in 1995, he continued as its chief editorial advisor.

He was also adept at English journalism and was with the Indian Express as its resident editor at Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Delhi.

Mr. Joshi’s weekly column ‘Kagad Kare’ and his commentaries on the proceedings of Parliament and State legislatures were eagerly awaited by readers. Recently, he had launched a weekly column called ‘Aughat Ghat’ in Tehelka Hindi.

He is particularly known for championing the cause of freedom of press and his work for perfecting professional standards.

Originally from Indore, Mr. Joshi was a Gandhian and redefined Hindi journalism by bringing in new styles of writing. He was also a close friend of the former Prime Minister V. P. Singh.

Apart from politics, he also wrote on sports, and had a special interest in cricket. He was also a lover of music and arts, in particular the folk music of the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh. He was a close friend of musician Kumar Gandharva and was a regular visitor to his house at Dewas. Mr. Joshi is survived by wife, Usha Joshi, two sons, Sandeep and Sopan, daughter Sonal and mother Leela Bai.

In a condolence message to the bereaved members , Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said, “in Shri Joshi’s passing away, the country has lost a well-known journalist, writer and political analyst, who worked tirelessly for promoting and preserving the essential virtue of freedom of the press. His exemplary contribution in the field of journalism, especially Indian media, was instrumental in strengthening the edifice of our democracy. Shri Joshi will be remembered as an icon of Indian journalism in times to come.”

Congress general secretary and chairperson of the AICC media cell, Janardhan Dwivedi, said he was a fearless thinker and forthright orator. He had a considered view on every subject. His writings on issues from sports to politics will be remembered for a long time to come. His death has created a void in the field of journalism and writing.

In her condolence message, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, recounting his career as a noted columnist, political analyst and a popular television commentator said, “the journalistic fraternity has lost a multi-faceted personality in the demise of Shri Joshi.”

Mourning the death, Editors Guild of India noted that he was one of the active members of the Guild, who had strived hard all through his career to uphold the freedom of the press and had worked towards perfecting professional standards.

Guild president Rajdeep Sardesai and secretary-general K.S. Sachidananda Murthy recalled that Mr. Joshi always believed that press freedom was not only for journalists and editors, but was a right to be enjoyed by the common citizen.

Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan said his thought-provoking writing would be long remembered.

Describing Mr. Joshi as a man of extraordinary intellectual courage and professional integrity, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his condolence message said his demise was a great loss for Indian journalism..

“He acquired an iconic status as the founder editor of the Hindi daily Jansatta. A whole generation of journalists drew inspiration from him, especially in questioning the current orthodoxy. In his later years, Shri Joshi worked tirelessly to give voice to the concerns and anxieties of the voiceless and marginalised. Indian journalism will be so much the poorer for his death.”

Expressing his deep sense of grief, the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee noted that Mr. Joshi belonged to that generation of journalists, who were connected to the “aam admi” and said one could see the real India through his writing.

He recalled that Mr. Joshi had contributed a lot to the Gandhian and the Bhoodan movement, and had played a noteworthy role in the struggle against emergency.