Top Bangladesh photographer sent to jail

Photographer Shahidul Alam is surrounded by policemen as he arrives for an appearance at a Dhaka court on August 6 after being charged for ‘provocative comments’ in an Al-Jazeera interview. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2018
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Top Bangladesh photographer sent to jail

  • Shahidul Alam was accused of making ‘false’ and ‘provocative’ statements on Al Jazeera and on Facebook Live
  • New York-based Human Rights Watch and London’s Amnesty International have demanded his release

DHAKA: Award-winning Bangladesh photographer Shahidul Alam was in jail on Monday, 10 days after being arrested following an interview with Al-Jazeera about massive student demonstrations, police said.
Alam, 63, who accused police of assaulting him in custody and was earlier sent to a hospital for a check-up following an order from the high court, was taken to a magistrate’s court late on Sunday.
“The court then sent him to jail,” police official Moshiur Rahman said.
Another police officer told the local Daily Star newspaper that Alam would be kept in prison until the completion of the probe into his charges.
Alam was accused of making “false” and “provocative” statements on Al-Jazeera and on Facebook Live as tens of thousands of students protested in Dhaka in late July and early August. He also published photos of the demonstrations.
He is being investigated for allegedly violating Bangladesh’s Internet laws, enacted in 2006 and sharpened in 2013, that critics say are used to snuff out dissent and harass journalists.
Alam, whose work has appeared widely in Western media and who founded the renowned Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, faces together with others a maximum 14 years in jail.
New York-based Human Rights Watch and London’s Amnesty International have demanded his release.
The renowned photographer told reporters outside court last Monday that he had been beaten so badly in police custody that his tunic needed washing to get the blood out.
Alam’s arrest capped a turbulent week in Bangladesh as students poured onto the streets in Dhaka and elsewhere for nine straight days after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.
Last weekend the demonstrations turned violent as some protesters vandalized and torched vehicles and police used tear gas and rubber bullets.
Mobs allegedly aligned with the government and wielding metal rods attacked demonstrators, journalists and even the US ambassador’s car. Some 150 people were injured.
Although the protests fizzled out last week, Bangladesh authorities launched a crackdown on online activists for “spreading rumors” to fuel the unrest.
Police are looking for people behind some 1,000 Facebook accounts and have arrested at least a dozen social media activists.
These include a television actress and the head of an online media outlet.


Arab News women driving cover wins further recognition in DNA Paris Design Awards

Updated 22 May 2019
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Arab News women driving cover wins further recognition in DNA Paris Design Awards

  • Arab News scooped the awards for its front page by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre, which was published to mark the move to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive
  • It has won numerous awards since its publication and been one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom

LONDON: Arab News has continued its success on the international awards stage by winning two honorable mentions at the DNA Paris Design Awards.

The newspaper scooped the awards for its front page by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre, which was published to mark the move to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive.

The honorable mentions were for the categories “Graphic design - Editorial” and “Graphic design - Key art (Posters, covers, illustration).”

"For Arab News to be recognised again on a global scale with this award is a great honor," Simon Khalil, global creative director at Arab News, said. “Our women drivers cover has been recognised with eight design awards so far and this highlights just how important this moment in history was for women across the Kingdom.

 “Malika Favre was the obvious choice for our cover, and her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever."

The illustration was commissioned by Arab News for the cover of a special souvenir edition on June 24 of last year. It has become one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom.

The cover has won numerous awards since it was published. In March, it was recognized by SND awards, one of the most prestigious in the industry.

In February, the cover image was recognized in the international design awards run by “HOW” magazine.

The DNA Paris Design Awards honors international architects and designers “who improve our daily lives through practical, beautiful and innovative design,” according to its website.