Prize Winning Journalist Masks Fear with Calm Approach

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Agence France-Presse Foundation has named Tempo reporter Stefanus Teguh Edi Pramono winner of the AFP Kate Webb Prize for his reports on the Syrian confict and the Jakarta drug trade.

    Pramono spoke of his experience while covering the conflict in Syria last year. There was a time when he was doubtful and lacked confidence, he said. Before he even got there, he had to wait month before getting a visa to enter the country. When he finally arrived, he was constantly enveloped in fear, especially considering the fact that this is his first experience as a non-Muslim entering a predominantly Muslim nation.

    His time in Syria, Pramono said, enriched his journalistic experience. He admitted that Syria is the place where he saw people getting shot for the first time. He also witnessed murders and saw children becoming war victims in front of his very eyes.

    The most difficult thing of being in an area of conflict was to overcome his own fear. He revealed that during his interactions with his sources, he had to position himself as a calm and composed man who always smiled in order to dig up substantial news.

    "I always greeted people," said Pram.

    Despite his fears and the fact that he doesn’t speak Arabic, Pramono managed to produce exceptional articles and photos during his visit to Syria.

    His composed approach also saved his life when he had to deal with drug dealers in a bid to uncover Jakarta's drug ring, in which he succeeded. In 2012, Pramono and one of his colleagues bravely infiltrated Kampung Ambon--an infamous Central Jakarta district known for its drug dealings.

    "When I entered the village, my hands suddenly became cold. Then I realized, my life was at risk because I was dealing with the mafia," he said.

    SYARI FANI | RIRIE RANGGASARI