World Newspaper Publishers Congress Opens
PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia (AP) _ A dissident Chinese journalist was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom on Monday by the International Federation of Newspaper Publishers.
Dai Qing was the first woman journalist to win the group’s highest award.
The federation comprises more than 15,000 newspapers in 60 countries.
In a speech opening the newspaper federation’s annual congress, Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel said newspapers must take some of the responsibility for civilization’s future.
″In a way, the press is, as part of the communications and information system of today’s civilization, kind of a soul of mankind,″ said Havel, a playwright and former dissident.
″The press bears (a) great deal of responsibility for our common destiny,″ he said. ″For what we get to know and what we don’t, what we have to fear ... and what we have to believe in.″
Jiri Dienstbier, Czechoslovakia’s foreign minister and a former dissident journalist, presented the award to Ms. Qing.
″It is necessary to thank everybody who does not forsake yearning for freedom,″ Dienstbier said. ″Dai Qing is one of them.″
The Beijing government allowed the dissident journalist to leave China late last year, and she went to Harvard University on a Nieman Fellowship in December.
Tuesday’s session will be opened by guest speaker Nelson Mandela, the leader of the African National Congress, South Africa’s main black group.