05:48 PM ET 05/03/00

50 Journalists Honored

By HEIDI B. PERLMAN © 2000, Associated Press Writer
          BOSTON (AP) Some were assassinated, others were tortured, and
some put their reputations on the line-- all to report the truth at any cost.

           On Wednesday, 50 journalists were honored at the International 
Press Institute's World Congress for their dedication to achieving
press freedom in their countries.

           Nearly half of those honored as ``World Press Freedom Heroes''
were being held in prison, too ill to attend or had been killed. 
          Christiana Chamorro came from Nicaragua in place of her father,
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro. The former editor and publisher at La
Prensa was assassinated in 1978 after earning a reputation for
questioning the government too often. 
          ``My father's life was sacrificed to help Nicaragua get freedom
of the press,'' Chamorro said. ``This award is in the name of all
of the people who have fought for freedom and peace in my
country.''
           While the journalists may not have been previously recognized
for their work, it has not gone unnoticed, said Louise Frechette,
deputy secretary general of the United Nations. 
          ``You make an invaluable difference by advancing the cause of
freedom of the press in your societies,'' she told those gathered
for the ceremony. ``The only way to honor victims of conflict is to
... ensure that their stories are told.''

           Nine of the journalists honored were from Africa, 13 from the
Americas, 15 from Asia and 13 from Europe. Five of them had been
killed.
           Among those honored:

           _Editor Kemal Kurspahic, who worked day and night in a nuclear
bomb shelter to ensure the Sarajevo newspaper Oslobodjenje was
published daily during the 3{-year siege by Serbian forces.

           _Nizar Nayyouf, a Syrian imprisoned since 1992 in Damascus for
writing for a human rights publication.

           _Veronica Guerin, a former investigative reporter for Ireland's
The Sunday Independent gunned down in 1996 during her efforts to
expose Dublin's criminal underworld.

           Katharine Graham, the owner and former Washington Post publisher
who ran the first stories on the Watergate scandal despite pressure
from the government, was the only American to receive the award.

           Graham said she was awed by what other recipients accomplished
under more oppressive conditions, and she encouraged journalists to
continue to take risks, push for true press freedom and accept that
``the pursuit of news is not a tidy affair.''

           ``The press can become unpopular, even hated,'' Graham said.
``That is a price of liberty that free societies must learn to
accept.''