Pacific Media Watch

3 October 2013

INDONESIA: War reporter receives AFP award in memory of NZ journo heroine

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Indonesian journalist Stefanus Teguh Edi Pramono has received in the Tempo newsroom on June 6. Image: AFP / Romeo Gacad

JAKARTA (Jakarta Globe / AFP / Pacific Media Watch): Indonesian journalist Stefanus Teguh Edi Pramono of Tempo Media Group has been awarded this year’s Agence France-Presse (AFP) Kate Webb Prize for courageous frontline reporting, the international news agency said on Monday.

“Not only is this award the proudest moment of my life, it also makes me want to be like Kate Webb — a tough journalist who did tremendous work,” Pramono said, according to the Jakarta Globe.

“The media’s job is not just to report the fighting, but to also report on the impact of war on ordinary people’s lives.”

Pramono was chosen for the honour in July, for a series on Syria’s bloody and protracted civil war and for an undercover investigation of Jakarta’s drug-trade, according to Gilles Campion, AFP’s Asia-Pacific regional director.

The award Pramono received earlier this week included a prize of €3000 (NZ$ 4913).

Kate Webb, the award’s namesake, was born in New Zealand and worked throughout Asia and the Middle East for five decades, often putting herself in harm’s way to report stories.

She was the first wire reporter to reach the US embassy after the fall of Saigon in 1968, and the New York Times mistakenly printed her obituary after she was captured by North Vietnamese troops.

Similar to Kate
Webb continued to report for United Press International and Agence-France Presse, working all over Asia, including in AFP’s Jakarta Bureau, and in 1992, she narrowly avoided death at the hands of an Afghan warlord. She died of cancer in 2007.

“Pram’s talent and bravery while reporting in risky circumstances reminds us of Kate,” Campion said.

“He truly deserves this award and we are very proud to present it to him. We hope his courage and tenacity in going after tough stories will serve as an example to many young reporters in the region.”

Pramono, an Indonesian-language reporter, is the fourth winner of the prize, which focuses on locally-engaged Asian journalists and exceptional work produced under dangerous or difficult conditions.

Without previous experience as a war correspondent, Pramono went to Syria in October 2012 to cover the civil war for Tempo Media Group — one of few Indonesian journalists to do so.

For his undercover work on the Jakarta narcotics trade in 2012, Pramono and a colleague infiltrated the underworld of Jakarta’s notorious Kampung Ambon district, where many drug dealers operate.

The first winner of the prize, in 2008, was Pakistani reporter Mushtaq Yusufzai, for his reportage from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The prize is administered by the AFP Foundation, a non-profit organisation that promotes high standards in journalism worldwide, and by the Webb family.

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