‘I No Longer Write the Way I Used to’: Journalists Fear the Bangladeshi Government

‘I No Longer Write the Way I Used to’: Journalists Fear the Bangladeshi Government

Bangladeshi photographers take part in a demonstration.  [Photo: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

Bangladeshi photographers take part in a demonstration. [Photo: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

IN LATE JULY, THOUSANDS TOOK to the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to protest the deaths of two students who had been run over by a bus. In a country where nearly 20 people are killed in vehicular accidents every day, this was a tipping point. For weeks, the capital was at a standstill as people cried for safer roads.

On August 5, Shahidul Alam, an award-winning photographer, appeared on Al Jazeera English to comment on the chaos. He told an anchor that the road safety protests reflected the frustration of ordinary Bangladeshis. He called the government illegitimate and corrupt, drawing attention to its human rights abuses. “It’s an unelected government,” he said of Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister, and her administration. “So they really didn’t have a mandate to rule but they have been clinging on by brute force.”   

That night, he went on Facebook and posted live videos saying more about the protests, condemning the government’s handling of the demonstrations.

Zainab Sultan looks at coverage of the Bangladeshi uprising for the Columbia Journalism Review.

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