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September 18, 2006
A $1 million gift from Yahoo! Inc. will enable Stanford's John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists to create a new international fellowship.
The new Yahoo! International Fellowship will be aimed at journalists from countries where there are restrictions on freedom of the press, either by governmental agencies or other forces, according to James Bettinger, director of the Knight Fellowships. The first Yahoo! International Fellow will be Imtiaz Ali, a reporter for the BBC Pashto Service in Pakistan.
Pakistan is where Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered in 2002, and journalists there report disturbing patterns of economic pressure, threats and attacks, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based nonprofit organization. Two Pakistani journalists were killed in February 2005 when gunmen opened fire on a bus filled with journalists, and in June the body of a Pakistani journalist abducted in December was found. He was the eighth journalist slain in Pakistan since 2002, according to the CPJ.
The Yahoo! gift will fund the new fellowship for 10 years. Bettinger said the new fellowship is the first in the program specifically aimed at journalists from countries where there are strong challenges to a free press. "People in this country are often unaware of the dire pressures under which journalists in many countries work," he said. "The Yahoo! International Fellowship will help us identify outstanding journalists in those countries, and give them the chance to withdraw from those environments for a year while studying with other Knight Fellows at Stanford."
Like all other International Knight Fellows, the Yahoo! Fellow is selected by the Knight Fellowships program administrators.
"Yahoo! believes information is power and is committed to helping bring about open access to information on a global basis," said Jerry Yang, Yahoo! co-founder. "While citizens around the world are benefiting greatly from increased access to information, particularly through vehicles such as the Internet, the journalists who distill that information are still under pressure in many nations. We hope that fellows visiting from press-restrictive nations will have the opportunity to bring change and enlightenment to their home countries."
The Knight Fellowships program annually brings 12 journalists from the United States and as many as eight from other countries to study for an academic year at Stanford. In addition to attending classes, Knight Fellows attend a series of discussions and seminars organized for them, and some pursue individual projects as well. At the end of their year they return to their news organizations. The program began in 1966.
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