Bangladesh photographer sacked over viral kiss photo

A Bangladeshi street vendor and child wait for customers in the rain at a market in Dhaka on July 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 30 July 2018
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Bangladesh photographer sacked over viral kiss photo

  • The couple were snapped kissing in monsoon rain on the steps of the Dhaka University campus
  • I never ever believed that one click would create so many stories

DHAKA: A renowned Bangladesh photographer said Sunday he has been the victim of “unwanted cruelty” after being sacked over an image of a couple kissing that raised a social media storm in the conservative Muslim-majority country.
The Purboposhchimbd news portal said Jibon Ahmed was “not fit” to work for the company because of doubts about whether the kiss image was staged.
Ahmed protested his innocence, insisted he has proof the image was spontaneous and said he has been roughed up by other photographers because of the image.
In a Facebook post, Ahmed said he had been “exposed to unwanted cruelty” due to the “powerful” photo.
“I never ever believed that one click would create so many stories. Today due to this photo the social and mainstream media are flooded with false and true stories about me,” he said of the divisions.
The couple were snapped kissing in monsoon rain on the steps of the Dhaka University campus. He posted it — with the caption “Songs of rains — let love be free” — on his Facebook page while the news portal also used it.
The photo quickly went viral in Bangladesh.
It drew social media praise for bringing a hint of social freedom. But conservatives questioned whether the photo had breached Bangladesh’s public decency mores.
Media commenters asked whether Ahmed sought the couple’s permission to publish the photo.
Ahmed — who captured the harrowing aftermath of an attack on a Bangladesh-born US writer hacked to death by Islamist extremists on the Dhaka campus three years ago — said other photographers confronted him over the kiss image.
“They asked me why did I shoot the photo. One of them slapped me during the quarrel,” he told AFP. “I said it was a symbol of pure love.”
After publishing the photo, Purboposhchimbd later wrote an article saying it believed the photo was “preplanned” and the photographer had “apologized.”
The editor, Khujista Nur-e-Naharin, said the company asked Ahmed to take legal action against the photographers who allegedly beat him but he did not turn up for a meeting to discuss the issue.
She also said there were suspicions the photo was staged with “models” and that Ahmed was not “fit” to work for the news portal.
“We have asked him many times to come and explain why he was roughed up and why he had said sorry to the photographers and whether models were used for the photo. He did not communicate with me. He dented our honor,” she told AFP.
Ahmed, who said he was sacked, rejected the employer’s criticism, and insisted he has proof that that the image was “natural.” He said his conscience would not let him sue his fellow journalists.
The couple in the photo have not made any public comment.


Need to vent some anger? Jordan opens ‘Axe Rage Rooms’

Updated 18 April 2019
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Need to vent some anger? Jordan opens ‘Axe Rage Rooms’

  • People can demolish old items as well as smash plates and glasses — but for the price of $17
  • So-called rage rooms have been opening up around the world

AMMAN: In an underground room in Amman, a small group of Jordanians swing giant hammers at an old television, computer and printer, wrecking the machines, and then hit a car windscreen, shattering the glass into tiny pieces.
In the “Axe Rage Rooms,” people can vent their anger and frustration by demolishing old items as well as smashing plates and glasses.
“This is simply a place to break things and vent,” co-founder and general manager Ala’din Atari said. “A place where people come when they’re looking for a new experience... walking into a room with various items which they can break.”
So-called rage rooms have opened around the world, drawing visitors who want let their hair down and unleash some anger.
At the “Axe Rage Rooms,” where the experience costs $17, participants wearing protective suits and helmets wrote the issues bothering them on a blackboard — “ex-girlfriends,” “boss” and “all boyfriends,” the words becoming the targets of their anger.
Atari said his venue, which has seen about 10 clients a day in the month since it opened, had a space for couples, where the pair enter two rooms separated by a reinforced glass window.
“I wanted to try something new and...it was great,” said Ayla Alqadi, 23, after chucking old kitchenware at the window — behind which stood a friend.
“I felt like I had extra energy, it was a way to channel all the negativity inside, everything you feel inside you can release here.”