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Former Yugoslavia: Independent Papers Welcome Professional Award

Prague, 10 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The editors of three independent newspapers in the former Yugoslavia have vowed they will continue to provide objective coverage of the region after an international society awarded their work.

The newspapers, "Oslobodjenje" of Bosnia and Herzegovina, "The Feral Tribune" of Croatia, and "Nasa Borba" of rump-Yugoslavia, were awarded the 1997 Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers Thursday in Paris. The award citied their "courageous - and often heroic - struggle to keep objective journalism alive during the conflict in the region."

Viktor Ivancic, editor in chief of "The Feral Tribune" told RFE/RL he welcomed the award because the state media in Croatia continually seeks to discredit the independent paper's work.

Vojislava Vignjevic, deputy editor in chief of "Nasa Borba," told our correspondent that the paper's staff is strengthened in its belief that it is following the rules of the journalists' profession which, she said, it "does not want to forsake or distort."

Mehmet Halilovic, editor in chief of "Oslobodjenje," gave credit to the paper's staff for defending it from all those who he said have sought to destroy the values of professional jounalism during the Bosnia war.

The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers has more than 15,000 members in 90 countries.