Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Shahidul Alam, internationally renowned photographer and activist, was forcibly taken from his home in Dhaka on 5 August. He was arrested and charged under Bangladesh’s ICT law for his public statements on recent protests. Nearly two months later, he remains in jail. The Prince Claus Fund, Free Press Unlimited and the World Press Photo Foundation call for his immediate release.

Shahidul Alam is a photographer, a champion of photography in Bangladesh and South Asia, and a global leader in photography. His book My Journey as a Witness has been described as “the most important book ever written by a photographer” by John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine. He founded the multimedia and photo agencies, Drik Picture Library and Majority World, Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, as well as the biennial photography festival Chobi Mela. He is also a new media pioneer and an advocate for positive social change.

Invaluable contributions to photography

Shahidul Alam has chaired the World Press Photo Contest jury, been a long-standing partner of the Prince Claus Fund for 15 years and has also worked with Free Press Unlimited for many years. We, the Prince Claus Fund, Free Press Unlimited and the World Press Photo Foundation, have been witness to his invaluable contributions in the world of photography and photojournalism and know him personally as a modest individual who has worked tirelessly for his community. In addition to his own accomplishments, he has made it his life’s work to support others by sharing his vast knowledge and generosity of spirit. We call on the Prime Minster of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina Wazed to adhere to its obligations under international law to release Shahidul Alam and to promote an environment in which media professionals are protected.

Shahidul, protagonist of photo journalism

Prince Claus Fund director Joumana El Zein Khoury says: 'I have had the honour to know Shahidul and his work since my first days at the Prince Claus Fund in 2006. We have collaborated on projects to train rural video journalists, to preserve and document cultural heritage and oral histories… No one has done more to raise the profile of South Asian photographers and photojournalists.'
Lars Boering, Managing Director World Press Photo Foundation adds: 'Shahidul is a personal friend, a great friend to our organization and a legend in world photography. He is highly respected by all who know him for his decades-long commitment to the arts, education, journalism, and photography. Nobody should be detained for their human rights, especially the right to peacefully express their views.'
Director Leon Willems of Free Press Unlimited states: 'Through his photography, Shahidul has managed to speak for the poor, the underprivileged, the oppressed and the less in the society of Bangladesh. He has been detained without bail for nothing more than doing this job; giving voice to the concerns of students. Now is the time to raise our voice and show our support for Shahidul.'

Please join

sign this petition in support of Shahidul Alam:


Photo: Rahnuma Ahmed