'The arrest of any journalist for doing his work is condemnable'
Veteran journalist and former bureau chief of the BBC, New Delhi, Mark Tully, has expressed concerns over the arrest and prolonged incarceration of noted photographer Shahidul Alam.
In an open letter sent to the Dhaka Tribune on Monday, Tully wrote: “I am writing to express my distress at the arrest and continuing confinement of the internationally-renowned photographer and journalist Shahidul Alam.
“The arrest of any journalist for doing his work is condemnable.”
He continued: “I remember the arrest of my BBC colleague Ataus Samad in the dark days of General Ershad's rule. I had believed that under the democratic rule of Sheikh Hasina such a thing could not happen again.
“I have had a very long connection with Bangladesh and have been treated with great respect and affection. I have always been proud of the fact that my mother was born in Bangladesh.”
In his open letter, Tully said: “I had the privilege of being one of the first journalists to interview Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman when he returned from his imprisonment in Pakistan.
“I still treasure the painting he gave me. I have been decorated with the honour of Friend of the Liberation War.”
Tully added that for all these reasons Bangladesh has a special place in his heart and that makes the confinement of an eminent journalist even more distressing because it does grave damage to the international reputation of the country.
The letter further read: “And this is at a time when the country's economic successes are being widely recognized and its standing is particularly high.
“I would beseech the Government and the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to release Shahidul Alam immediately to reassure the world that the Government respects the freedom of the press and to protect the good name of Bangladesh.”