Rosihan Anwar was born in Kubang Nan Dua, West Sumatera. Rosihan received early education at HIS and MULO in Padang. He continued his school to AMS in Yogyakarta and often participated journalism workshop at Columbia University, New York. His career began as reporter in Asia Raya newspaper while Japanese invasion. In 1947, he founded Siasat magazine. He also the founder and editor of Pedoman newspaper, which was twice forcibly closed by Sukarno regime (1961) and Suharto's New Order administration (1974), because of its vocal criticism of the authoritarian regime.
As a reporter, Rosihan Anwar is not man of power, but man of conscience and of culture. He expressed criticism in any local and foreign media. Rosihan Anwar was one of the founders of the National Film Company (Perfani). Beside as reporter, he well known as writer. He has published 30 books and wrote hundreds of articles mostly in Indonesian. The last book, he wrote about Indonesian history with tittle Petite Histoire Indonesia.