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Hollywood, May 11, 2002 - The first Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism will be presented to Daniel Pearl in memoriam and accepted by his family at the 44th Annual Southern California Awards on Saturday evening, June 22, 2002, it was announced by L.A. Press Club President Patt Morrison and Executive Director Alex Ben Block.

This new award, created by a unanimous vote of the club's Board, is named for the Wall Street Journal reporter slain while on assignment in Pakistan. Based in Bombay, India, for the past year as the Journal's bureau chief for South Asia, Pearl was covering the war on terrorism, accompanied by his French journalist wife, Mariane, who was six months pregnant with their first child. He was working on a story in Karachi about Islamic radicals when he was kidnapped and murdered.

This award is meant to keep alive the memory and spirit of Daniel Pearl, a first-rate journalist, musician, father-to-be and friend who was only 38 when he was murdered. It is also a tribute to more than three dozen other journalists killed in the line of duty around the world last year and the many other reporters, editors, cameramen and correspondents who put their lives on the line every day to preserve the rights of a free press.

"As Daniel Pearl's murder was a reminder of how dangerous the pursuit of information can be, this award that bears his name will be a reminder and a renewal of that same spirit that sends the men and women who follow this craft to far places and difficult circumstances in the service of truth-telling," said Patt Morrison. "And as Daniel Pearl honored us with his sense of purpose, we now honor him with an award that bears his name and carries his mission to those who will follow him and draw inspiration from him.''

The award is being created in consultation with the family of Daniel Pearl, represented by his parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, his sisters, Tamara and Michelle Pearl, and widow, Mariane Pearl. It will be presented in future years to other deserving journalists, as worthy candidates arise, in consultation with Pearl's family. In a statement, the Pearl family said: "We thank the Los Angeles Press Club for Honoring Daniel as the first recipient of the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism. We hope that this award will encourage responsible and creative journalism, and will thus promote the ideals that inspired Daniel's life and work."

Those ideals have also been put into action by the Daniel Pearl Foundation (www.danielpearlfoundation.org). "The foundation's mission is to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications," according to the site.

The award will be presented in future years to other deserving American journalists, who may be based at home or abroad. The honoree must demonstrate the kind of principles for which Daniel Pearl stood. Those include being courageous and responsible; showing great personal and professional integrity; and producing published, broadcast or online work that is original, objective, accurate and most importantly, provides insight into the human condition.

This new recognition for an outstanding journalist will be the presented by the LA Press Club as part of the Southern California Journalism Awards, recognizing editorial excellence in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and online during 2001. The awards gala producer is Alex Ben Block. The other two honorary awards are the Joseph M. Quinn Award for Editorial Excellence and Distinction, and the Presidents Award.

The creation of an award in the name and spirit of Daniel Pearl is another way that the LA Press Club fulfills its stated mission to be a service organization for working journalists, to improve the reputation of the media, to support open government and to serve the community.

"We celebrate Daniel Pearls memory," said Block, who is also Editor-in-Chief of Hollywood Star News, "as well as the lives of all the journalists worldwide who regularly put themselves on the line for their jobs, often at great personal risk."

All of the honors, including awards for print, broadcast and online excellence, will be given out June 22 at the gala awards dinner, in the Le Meridien Hotel at Beverly Hills. For information on tickets or advertising in the awards program, contact: Marnye Oppenheim (323) 459-8180 or EMAIL [email protected].

Source: Los Angeles Press Club

Media Contact: Alex Ben Block (818-642-1727)

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