Indonesian journalist awarded AFP prize

Jakarta (AFP) - Indonesian journalist Stefanus Teguh Edi Pramono was on Monday awarded the Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for his brave reporting on Syria's bloody civil war and the Jakarta drugs trade.

Pramono, 32, produced his work for Tempo, a respected media group that rose to prominence with its daring reporting during Indonesian dictator Suharto's more than three decades in power.

AFP's Asia-Pacific regional director Gilles Campion presented him with a certificate and 3,000 euros ($4,000) prize money during a ceremony at the historic Antara Gallery in the capital Jakarta.

"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.

"Pram?s talent and bravery while reporting in risky circumstances remind us of Kate. He truly deserves this award and we are very proud to present it to him," Campion said.

"We hope his courage and tenacity in going after tough stories will serve as an example to many young reporters in the region."

Webb, who died in 2007 aged 64, was one of the finest correspondents to have worked for AFP, earning a reputation for bravery while covering wars and other historic events in the Asia-Pacific over a career spanning four decades.

The Kate Webb Prize, launched in 2008, recognises exceptional work produced by locally hired Asian journalists operating in dangerous or difficult circumstances.

Pramono set off to Syria last October to cover the country's civil war, which is now estimated to have left more than 110,000 people dead and forced more than two million people to flee to neighbouring countries.

It was his first trip to the Middle East and he had no knowledge of Arabic, but he nevertheless succeeded in producing a series of outstanding articles for Tempo.

"But the media's job is not to just report the fighting, but to also report on the impact of war on ordinary people's lives," Pramono added.

In his undercover work on the Jakarta narcotics trade in 2012, Pramono and a colleague managed to infiltrate the notorious Kampung Ambon district, from where many drug dealers run their businesses.

He has also exposed corrupt politicians during his seven years at the Tempo group, whose publications include an Indonesian-language magazine, a daily newspaper and an English-language magazine. He is currently assigned to the newspaper.

The Antara Gallery, a Dutch colonial building that houses exhibitions of photojournalism, is the former headquarters of the national news agency from where Indonesia's declaration of independence was broadcast to the world in 1945.

Webb first made her name as a UPI correspondent in the Vietnam War, prior to assignments in other parts of Southeast Asia as well as India and the Middle East with AFP.

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