Bangladesh frees photographer facing charges of propaganda

Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam (C) speaks following is release from Dhaka Central Jail, Keraniganj, near Dhaka, on November 20, 2018, after he was granted bail by the high court a few days prior. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Bangladesh frees photographer facing charges of propaganda

  • His arrest involving a student protest for better road safety after a road accident in August had sparked criticism at home and abroad

DHAKA,Bangladesh: An acclaimed photographer has been released from a jail in Bangladesh more than three months after he was arrested on charges of spreading false information about a street protest and propaganda against the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Prison official Mahbubul Islam said late Tuesday authorities had released photographer Shahidul Alam following a daylong wait after his family and lawyers provided the proper documents from the High Court that granted him permanent bail.
His arrest involving a student protest for better road safety after a road accident in August had sparked criticism at home and abroad.
Rights groups have criticized Hasina for repressive measures against free speech, but authorities say Alam spread false information on Facebook that tarnished the country’s image.


Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

Updated 19 February 2019
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Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

  • Dutt's account was blocked after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her
  • Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence”

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: One of India’s best-known women journalists, Barkha Dutt, launched a scathing attack on Twitter Inc. on Tuesday for temporarily locking her account after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her.
Dutt said some people had posted and circulated her phone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone.
Dutt tweeted some of the threats and images on Monday, and she included phone numbers and names of the men who allegedly threatened her, after which her account was suspended.
She posted her complaint against Twitter in a tweet on Tuesday, after her account was re-activated.
“I would like to place on record my absolute horror and disgust at Twitter’s encouragement of sexual abuse and gender inequality,” said Dutt, a former managing editor at news channel NDTV and a regular columnist with the Washington Post.
Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence.”
Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons and it referred to its rules that users may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.
“If we identify a Tweet that violates the Twitter Rules, there are a range of enforcement options we may pursue. These include requiring a user to delete a Tweet, and/or being temporarily locked out of their account before they can Tweet again,” a spokeswoman for Twitter said in an email.
The social media platform is already facing scrutiny in India.
Its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, has been called to appear before a parliamentary panel this month to discuss initiatives being taken to safeguard citizen’s rights on social media and online news platforms.
The hearing comes soon after the conservative Youth for Social Media Democracy group accused Twitter of left-wing bias and protested outside its office in New Delhi this month.
Dorsey did not appear at a hearing earlier this month.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday the parliamentary panel had written an email to Dorsey, reiterating its demand that he appear at a Feb. 25 hearing.
Twitter declined to comment on whether Dorsey would attend.
Social media giants in India are being put under greater scrutiny ahead of a general election due before May, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party are seeking re-election.
Several social media companies are overhauling policies to curb misinformation ahead of the vote.