Daniel Pearl Foundation Announces Recipients Of Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowships For 2013

Two New Fellows Set to Begin Assignments in U.S. Newsrooms

Mar 21, 2013, 11:28 ET from The Daniel Pearl Foundation

LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Daniel Pearl Foundation (www.danielpearl.org) today announced that two journalists from South Asia will soon begin five-and-a-half-month training programs in the Washington, D.C. bureaus of two prominent news organizations.

Khalid Khattak, from Pakistan, who works at The News in Lahore, will join the reporting ranks of The Wall Street Journal, while Emran Hossain from Dhaka, Bangladesh, whose home publication is the Web-based bdnews24.com, will continue his career in digital news with a stint at the Huffington Post.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation, founded in 2002 by friends and family of The Wall Street Journal South Asia Bureau Chief Daniel Pearl, established the Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowships the year after Danny was murdered in Pakistan by Islamic extremists.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of the fellowship program. Since this program's beginning, the foundation has brought to the United States 18 mid-career journalists from South Asia and the Middle East, areas Danny covered as a reporter.  Fellows have come from Pakistan, Egypt, Nepal, Turkey, Malaysia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

"We welcome these fellows and are inspired and gratified by the courage and accomplishments of our former recipients, who are making a difference in our world," said foundation co-founder Ruth Pearl, Daniel Pearl's mother.  Among them:

  • Umar Cheema, of Pakistan, was abducted and tortured for his reporting that was critical of the government and its intelligence agency. He said his fellowship gave him the courage to defy his abductors' threats to him and his family and to report the incident to the police. He said he learned to 'rise above personal considerations for some greater cause,' and in December 2012 produced a 70-page investigative report on tax evasion by two-thirds of Pakistani federal officials, including the president.  Umar spent his 2008 fellowship at The New York Times.
  • Walid al-Saqaf, of Yemen, became an anti-censorship advocate after his fellowship and developed the encrypted portal for Arab Spring protestors to bypass government censorship and get their stories out to the world.  His role in supporting democracy through technology earned him a TED 2012 senior fellowship.  His 2005 fellowship was at The Wall Street Journal's Washington bureau.
  • Aoun Sahi, of Pakistan, said his fellowship gave him the courage to propose a major project in 2011 at his newspaper in Lahore to address anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.  He also said the "best part" of his fellowship was "understanding American and Jewish culture," and that he advocates a partnership of Jewish and Muslim journalists "to portray both sides of the picture. We already had too much of enmity; it's time to understand and tolerate each other." Aoun's 2010 fellowship was at The Wall Street Journal's Atlanta bureau.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation funds the fellowships and partners with the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships in administering the program.  Host newsrooms have included The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and a National Public Radio affiliate in New York, among others.

In addition, the fellows spend a week at the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. At the end of their stay, they share their experiences at a free public discussion hosted by the Los Angeles Press Club.  This year's panel will be Aug. 22 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

About The Daniel Pearl Foundation:
Formed in 2002 in memory of The Wall Street Journal's South Asia Bureau Chief, journalist/musician Daniel Pearl, the Daniel Pearl Foundation promotes the ideals that inspired his life and work. The foundation works domestically and internationally to promote cross-cultural dialogue and understanding, to counter cultural and religious intolerance, to cultivate responsible and balanced journalism, and to inspire unity and friendship through music (www.danielpearl.org).

SOURCE The Daniel Pearl Foundation