NUJ joins calls for immediate release of photojournalist Shahidul Alam
6 August 2018
The NUJ has joined the International Federation of Journalists in calling for the immediate release of photojournalist Shahidul Alam.
The Bangladesh police stormed his home in Dhanmondi, Dhaka, on the evening of Sunday 5 August and arrested him. They broke the building's CCTV cameras, disconnected intercom connection of the building and took him away in a van. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Detective Branch later confirmed that they had picked him up for interrogation over his Facebook posts about student protests.
Thousands of students joined demonstrations in Dhaka calling for safer roads after a boy and a girl were killed by a speeding bus on July 29. They ignored repeated calls from the government for them to return home. Over the weekend, unidentified men in helmets carrying sticks and metal rods attacked protesters and journalists. The government blocked 3G and 4G internet services for 24 hours on August 4 evening in response to the protests.
On his Facebook page, Shahidul Alam narrated an attack on him, allegedly by ruling-party activists, as he was taking a video of their demonstrations. He had also been reporting incidents, in support of the student protesters, from the streets on Dhaka on Facebook. He had criticised the government during an interview with the broadcaster Al Jazeera.
A report by Al Jazeera quoted police official Moshiur Rahman saying: "He has been brought to our office early this morning [Monday]. We are interrogating him for giving false information to different media and for provocative comments. And he could not give proper answers. He admitted that these are his personal opinion."
Other journalists attacked include freelance photojournalist Rahat Karim, Palash of Daily Bonik Barta, Ibnul Asad Zawad of The Daily Janakantha, Rimon of US-based Zuma Press, Ahmed Deepto of Bangla daily Prothom Alo, Nagorik TV reporter Abdullah Shafi and Kamrul Hassan, Sara Bangla reporter Golam Samdani, Prothom Alo photojournalist Shajid Hossain, bdmorning's Abu Shufian Jewel, Naya Diganta's Sharif Hossain, freelance photographers Marjuk Hasan, Hasan Jubayer and N Kayer Hasim.
The IFJ said:
“The IFJ condemns the arrest of photojournalist Shahidul Alam and unabated attacks on journalists and photojournalists covering demonstrations in Dhaka in recent days. Such acts of arrest and violence are against press freedom and hinder independent journalism. The IFJ demands immediate release of photojournalist Alam, and security measures to protest journalists and photojournalists from miscreants.”
Show your support by using social media to demand his release: #freeshahidulalam