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Updated 7/11/03

James Bettinger, director, Knight Fellowships Program, (650) 725-1189
Dawn Garcia, deputy director, (650) 725-1188

Bangladeshi journalist selected Senior Research Fellow in Knight Fellowships program

A Bangladeshi journalist whose work exposed him to danger in his home country is spending part of the 2002-03 academic year at Stanford.

Mainul Islam Khan, 30, deputy director of the Bangladesh Center for Development, Journalism and Communication, is a senior research fellow. He is studying with 19 other U.S. and International John S. Knight Fellows who were already here.

Khan fled Bangladesh in December, fearing imminent arrest because of his work with a British television team that was filming a documentary about Islamic fundamentalism and violence against Hindu minorities in the country. At the time several colleagues who also worked on the documentary had been arrested for sedition, a charge that carries the death penalty in Bangladesh. All have since been freed, the last on Jan. 18.

"Over the past year, the Bangladeshi government has accused journalists and press freedom activists of endangering national security by committing what it calls 'information terrorism,' " said Joel Simon, acting director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based organization that monitors attacks on journalists around the world. "But Mainul Islam Khan and his colleagues are in fact helping to strengthen Bangladesh's democracy by working to uphold the rights of the Fourth Estate."

Knight Fellowship Director James Bettinger said the presence at Stanford of journalists like Khan provides an important perspective, reminding people about the dangers faced by journalists in many parts of the world.

While at Stanford, Khan will study press freedom, democracy and human rights issues.

The Knight Fellowships program was established as the Stanford Professional Journalism Fellowships in 1966. More than 700 journalists from the U.S. and other countries have been journalism fellows at Stanford.



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