Notes on the Media

London Observer preserved

The company that owns The Observer has accepted an offer to sell the 202-year-old newspaper, considered to be the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.

Lonrho PLC, which bought The Observer in 1981, indicated it would accept an offer from The Guardian and Manchester Evening News PLC. The left-leaning Guardian publishes weekdays and Saturday.

Harry Roche, chairman and chief executive of The Guardian and Manchester Evening News, said terms of the offer would not be disclosed until they had been presented to The Observer's board.

Publishers of The Independent and The Sunday Independent also reportedly made a bid for The Observer, and it was thought they would have shut down the newspaper to eliminate a Sunday competitor.

Circulation was down 7.5 percent from a year earlier, putting The Observer third in the "quality" market behind The Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph. Sarajevo newspaper wins award

Delivering the news in the face of death - every day - has won a the Sarajevo newspaper Oslobodjenje Sweden's Freedom Prize.

The prize has been awarded annually since 1982. Former recipients include Poland president, Lech Walesa, and Czech president Vaclav Havel.

Despite the savage civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the siege of Sarajevo, the newspaper's staff has managed to publish daily except once since the conflict started more than a year ago. Two of its journalists have died in the war, and five staff members have disappeared.

The paper is housed in a bomb-proof cellar under its headquarters, which were severely shelled last year. Telephone lines are often down, power cuts are frequent, and a Serbian blockade has made it difficult to get newsprint.

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