Chilean Editor Awarded Press Freedom Prize
HELSINKI, Finland (AP) _ The International Federation of Newspaper Publishers awarded its annual ″Golden Pen of Freedom″ prize Monday to Juan Pablo Cardenas, who faces a jail term in his native Chile.
Giovanni Giovannini of Italy, the federation’s secretary-general, said the award honored ″the courage of many Chilean journalists″ who continue to publish despite restrictions imposed by the military government of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
″When I started in my journalistic career, I never thought I would have to put my vocation to the test under a dictatorship,″ said Cardenas, editor of Analisis magazine, in his acceptance speech.
He received a standing ovation from the 500 publishers and guests attending the federation’s 40th World Congress.
Chile’s Supreme Court sentenced Cardenas on May 14 to 541 days in prison after convicting him of defaming President Pinochet. He left Chile a day later and came here from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Sir Gordon Linacre of Britain, president of the federation, called on the Pinochet government to revoke the sentence.
″It is totally unbelievable that this journalist has been punished, and with such cruel severity, for exercising the freedom of expression and opinion to which he, and all free men, are entitled,″ Linacre said in a telegram to Pinochet.
Carlos Santa Maria, the managing director of Analisis and other opposition publications, said Cardenas felt it his responsibility to return to Chile and planned to do so even if he had to serve the sentence.
Santa Maria said he hoped international awards such as the Golden Pen would pressure Chile’s government to rescind the sentence. The government banned sales of Analisis from September to January, but it is now being published, Santa Maria said.
In his speech, Cardenas, 37, accused the Pinochet regime of ″totally destroying all the illusions of justice and development of our people.″
Following the 1973 coup led by Pinochet that ousted the elected government of Marxist President Salvador Allende, Cardenas said, ″Our mission was to open spaces of freedom - small holes through which the truth could penetrate the consciousness of our people.″
He paid tribute to a ″dear comrade,″ Jose Carrasco, an editor of Analisis who was taken from his home and killed last September following an attempt to assassinate Pinochet.
Speaking in Spanish, Cardenas said prospects for change in Chile were dim and that if ″any elections ever take place, they will be fraudulent.″