Posts Tagged ‘Dhaka’

Enforced Disappearance

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

A post by Shahidul Alam, The journalist who got too close, reminded me of the dangers faced by journalists and photographers in some countries of the world, and in Bangladesh in particular, where extra-judicial killings and ‘disappearances’ are now common, despite government protestations there that they show ‘zero tolerance’ to extra-judicial killings, or torture and death in custody.

Alam writes:

On March 10, 2020, the Bangladesh police registered a case against photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol and 31 others under the country’s draconian Digital Security Act for publishing ‘false, offensive and defamatory’ information on Facebook. He has not been seen since.

You can read more about his case at Amnesty International who have released a video showing CCTV footage of unidentified men interfering with his motorbike outside the offices of his Bangla daily Dainik Pokkhokal for which he was both editor and photojournalist shortly before he left the office and rode away on the evening of 10 March 2020. He has not been seen since. Police filed a new case against him three hours after he was last seen.

You can see a few photographs by Shafiqul Islam Kajol on the Majority World agency web site. His disappearance took place after he and 31 others were accused of publishing “false, offensive and defamatory” information on Facebook. He had been publishing about sex scandals by members of the ruling party. He had previously been badly injured in several attacks when covering their political rallies.


Shahidul Alam: The Tide Will Turn

Friday, January 31st, 2020

I’ve written on several occasions about Shahidul Alam, a Bangladeshi photographer, activist, teacher and entrepreneur and his gallery, news agency Drik and photojournalism school Pathshala, in Dhaka dedicated to allowing the majority world to tell its own story, something he has done so well through his own photography.

Among the stories I’ve mentioned here is the saga of his arrest and imprisonment in August 2018, when as he writes “I did not know if I was going to live or die. ” Though badly beaten by police, he survived and after 101 days in jail was released.

A new book, Shahidul Alam: The Tide Will Turn, is now published by Steidl:

“Combining Alam’s photos and texts with those of collaborators, including artwork by Sofia Karim and fellow inmates, The Tide Will Turn documents his experiences, the global support for his release and the ongoing fight for democracy in Bangladesh. The book comprises a record of Alam’s time in jail; a chapter each on art and politics; and an exchange of letters between Alam and writer Arundhati Roy. “

https://www.artbook.com/9783958296930.html

The book accompanies an exhibition of his work in New York which I read about on ‘The Eye of Photography‘, Shahidul Alam : Power to Truth.


Who Are We?

Friday, June 7th, 2019

You can now watch the video presentation Who Are We? 2019 – Shahidul Alam played at Tate Modern last month, part of Learning Lab 2: Artists who Risk and Artists at Risk, 25 May 2019. I found it an interesting insight into his work and in thinking about our own work as artists – and he says we are all artists.

Who Are We? is a cross-platform event designed for Tate Exchange (Tate Modern) reflecting on identity, belonging, migration and citizenship, open free to the public, and has been held annually since 2017 and is a partnership with the Tate, Counterpoint Arts and the Open University.

Probably I don’t need to say anything about who Alam his, or about his arrest last year. I’ve written at least a dozen times about his work as a photographer and also about his other incredible activities in Bangladesh, setting up Drik and Majority World agencies, the Bangladesh Photographic Institute, the South Asian Institute of Photography, Pathshala and the Chobi Mela festival. Here is a link to just one of those posts, 25 Years of Drik.