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article imageReporter agrees to circumcision for story

By Lynn Curwin     Nov 8, 2011 in World
A journalist in Papua New Guinea agreed to be circumcised with bamboo sticks in order to get a story which resulted in a tightening of borders and a "best scoop" award.
After travelling through the jungles to interview rebels, Papua New Guinea Post-Courier reporter Simon Eroro was told that they would only talk to him if he first went through a cleansing ceremony that involved circumcision with bamboo sticks. Determined to get his story, Eroro agreed.
His story resulted in a tightening of the borders to prevent outlaws from entering Papua New Guinea from Indonesia, and he was presented with an award during a ceremony in Sydney, Australia Friday evening.
The News Awards website states:
After three years persistence, Simon was granted an interview with the outlawed West Papuan army rebels, the OPM, who operate against the Indonesians in the rainforests of West Papua and also run secret training camps across the border in PNG. Simon describes getting this story as the most dangerous of his career: not only the demands of reaching the rebels via jungle and kayaking across rivers, but at the final moment, in order to secure the meeting with the OPM rebel leader, he was challenged to participate in a cleaning ceremony which required his circumcision with bamboo sticks.
The impact of Simon’s scoop in PNG was enormous – the PNG Police Commissioner launched a major operation to tighten the borders and close down the OPM refugee camps.
When he accepted the award, Eroro thanked his wife, his editor in chief and his managing director.
"Thanks a lot for trusting me and engaging me on that assignment," The Australian quoted him as saying.
The News Awards are presented to journalists, photographers, designers and artists at News Limited, and include a trophy, certificate and money. Rupert Murdoch is the chairman and chief executive of News Limited, which is based in Australia.
"Tonight, I have witnessed many examples of great journalism," The Telegraph quoted Murdoch as saying at the awards ceremony. "It is the backbone of what makes News Limited a great company."
A photo of Eroro accepting his award can be seen on the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier website.
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