Saleem Samad

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Saleem Samad "is a professional writer/journalist, an Ashoka Fellow for journalism. He has more than 25 years of experience in investigative journalism in South Asia, reporting on conflict & peace issues and democracy. He covered the Iran-Iraq war in 1983 and insurgency in south-east Bangladesh in 1980s & 90s. Until recently he has worked as Bangladesh correspondent for the prestigious TIME magazine, special correspondent for the premier English daily The Bangladesh Observer, correspondent for Paris based press watchdog Reporter Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders), a Lahore-based Pakistan's prestigious Daily TIMES, and now defunct Tehelka.Com, a leading investigative Indian news portal.

"He has worked as trainer for small town journalists with US based non-profit organization Academy for Educational Development (AED), Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC), Bangladesh Human Rights Journalists Forum (HRJF), and Forum of Environmental Journalist, Bangladesh (FEJB).

"While engaged with media outfits, he has worked closely with the government, NGOs and international development partners. He has documented & edited the three major parliament elections (1991, 1996 & 2001) in Bangladesh for election observer's alliance of NGOs.

"He also worked as Fixer for several international TV networks, including British Channel 4 TV, BBC2 TV and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV.

"He has credit of several books he co-authored on insurgency, forced migration, political crisis of the ethnic minorities living in hill forests of southeast Bangladesh , press freedom, election monitoring and environmental issues.

"He has presented research papers at McGill University, Montreal, Canada; School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA; RIAP, University of Sydney, Australia; University of Karachi, Pakistan; Jadavpur University, Kolkata; and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata; India.

"He is recipient of Ashoka Fellowship by a Washington based foundation ASHOKA: Innovators for the Public. He was elected for 3-years fellowship in 1991 for agenda-setting journalism. The fellowship was awarded as a role model for sensitising small town journalists on key environment and development issues through holding series of participatory workshops.

"He was a Senior Fellow at the Advocacy Institute, Washington on Ford Foundation fund in 1996. Also visiting scholar at International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) of Colorado State University, Denver, United States in 1993.

"Recently New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) awarded him with Hellman-Hammett Grantsas a 'writer-in-exile'. While Amnesty International has recognised him as 'Defender of Human Rights'.

"He was detained and tortured by the Bangladesh security agencies in November 2002 along with two foreign journalists working for British Channel 4 TV for documenting on Islamic extremism & expatriate Jihadis. His arrest caused global uproar by international media, press watchdogs and human rights groups. Bangladesh's media and civil societies were equally outraged. He was released from prison after 55 days when the High Court intervened and overuled his incarceration.

"Since his release, he was put under surveillance and routinely intimidated by security agencies. As a result he fled to Canada and sought political asylum in November 2004. Canadian authority accepted his application as "convention" refugee, in the shortest period ever offered by Canadian immigration authorities. His family is still living in Bangladesh in fear of persecution.

"He fluently speaks and understands English, Urdu, Hindi and Bengali, which are widely spoken in South Asia and immigrants in the west." [1]

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  1. Saleem Samad, The Intelligence Summit, accessed August 23, 2007.