Freedom of Expression

Dhaka University Raju Vaskorjo March 2010-Freedom of Expression.Photographers and students from the South Asian Media Academy on Monday demonstrate protest against the law personnel and unauthorized shut down of Shahidul Alam's Crossfire exhibition at Drik Gallery on March 22.-Copy Right-Monirul Alam

The photography exhibition titled “Crossfire” by noted photojournalist Shahidul Alam was finally opened for public at Drik Gallery yesterday, eight days after police obstructed visitors from entering the gallery.

Shahidul Alam, also managing director of Drik, said yesterday the government lawyers confirmed that the police deployed in front of his gallery were withdrawn and there would be no further obstruction.

The deadline of the exhibition opened for public around 5:00pm was extended to April 14.

The schedule was extended as the previous deadline ended yesterday, Alam told a press conference at Pathshala, South Asian Media Academy and the educational wing of Drik.

Dhaka University March 2010- Freedom of Expression-Copy Right-Monirul Alam

“The exhibition was on and continued so far, but people could not enter the Gallery,” he said.

He added they have taken an alternative measure to hold the exhibition in the building as they have to leave the gallery for other prescheduled exhibitions.

“We would not be able to hold the exhibition the way we have planed it. But we are trying to hold it in other way at the building,” he said.

On the exhibition, he said, “Crossfire is a much-talked-about issue and we think we have something to say about it.

“Though the government pledged to stop crossfire before and after the elections, it is still occurring which is a matter of worry,” Alam said. He alleged the events of “crossfire” occurring in 2009 are higher than what happened during the army-backed caretaker government in 2008.

“When the exhibition could create such reaction only because of having the name ‘crossfire’, the meaning of the word comes clear,” he said.

Besides, there is no reason to raise objection to the exhibition and those who raised objection know the relation between photographs and crossfire, he added.

Dhaka University March 2010-Freedom of Expression.Photographers and students from the South Asian Media Academy on Monday demonstrate protest against the law personnel and unauthorized shut down of Shahidul Alam's Crossfire exhibition at Drik Gallery on March 22.-Copy Right-Monirul Alam

“This sort of bar from the government is illegal and we protest against it,” he said.

Meantime, the authorities of Pathshala at the press conference demanded immediate arrest and punishment of the people who gave death threat to its Principal Shahidul Alam twice for the exhibition.

Expressing concern, they demanded that security measures for Alam be ensured.

Pathshala Vice-principal Abir Abdullah said an anonymous man on March 26 and another on March 27 threatened Alam with death and asked about the reasons of the exhibition.

“We think every citizen of the country should have the freedom of expression,” he said.

Regarding the threat, Alam said it is a matter of regret for the people when a citizen issued death threat to another in front of the law-enforcement agencies.

“I cannot even do the normal work now,” he said.

(Report on the Daily Star newspaper)

Dhaka Pathshala March 2010-Dr. Shahidul Alam principal of Pathshala (right) and Abir Abdullah Vice-Principal (left) at a press conference -Copy Right-Monirul Alam


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