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Dhaka Tribune

Friend of Bangladesh Simon Dring no more

The 'Friends of Liberation War Honour' award was conferred on him by the Bangladesh government in 2012

Update : 20 Jul 2021, 03:48 PM

British foreign correspondent, television producer, and presenter Simon Dring has passed away at the age of 76, according to media reports.

The Daily US Times reported that Dring breathed his last on Friday during routine surgery for a bowel obstruction. He had a heart attack during the surgery, and the doctors could not revive him, said his cousin, Chris Barlas. 

Simon Dring was considered a true friend of Bangladesh and had a deep connection with the country, starting in 1971 when he covered the gruesome massacre carried out by the Pakistan Army in Dhaka on the night of March 25, during Operation Searchlight.

The Bangladesh government expressed gratitude to him by recognizing his role in spreading the word on the Liberation War out in the world. He was conferred the "Friends of Liberation War Honour" in 2012.

Dring left behind his partner Fiona McPherson, and three daughters.

As a reporter, he covered major stories around the world. He reported for the BBC from many conflict zones between 1960-80s.

Simon Dring started as a feature writer at the Bangkok World newspaper when he was only 18. He went on to report the Vietnam War, reporting for Reuters and other news organizations.

His subsequent career for The Telegraph and the BBC was marked by quality reporting from Biafra, Bangladesh, Eritrea, and many other conflict zones. He was on the plane carrying Khomeini back from Paris to Iran in 1979. 

Also Read - Simon Dring: What does he mean to us?

Simon Dring was injured several times and imprisoned in Uganda by Amin, where he was threatened with execution.

A decorated career in journalism

Simon Dring got his first media job in early 1963, at the age of 18, working as a proofreader and feature writer for the Bangkok World newspaper in Thailand.

In 1964, at the age of 19, he became a freelance reporter for the London Daily Mail and The New York Times in Laos, before moving to Vietnam at the end of the year, where he covered the war for two years for Reuters as their youngest staff correspondent at the time.

His journalistic career continued through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s as a staff correspondent for Reuters, The Daily Telegraph, and BBC TV News and a freelance reporter and producer for, among others, The Sunday Times, Newsweek, and BBC Radio News. 

During this time, Simon Dring covered major stories and events throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria, Angola, Uganda, Eritrea, Cyprus, Israel, Brazil, Croatia, Bosnia, and Georgia.

His brilliant career as a journalist is filled with numerous prestigious awards and honors. He became the UK Reporter of the Year for his eyewitness accounts in The Daily Telegraph of the massacres in Dhaka during the Liberation War.

Also Read - President Hamid, PM Hasina mourn death of noted journalist Simon Dring

The awards

Simon Dring won many awards in Britain and elsewhere. 

He was selected as the UK Television News Reporter of the Year for his reports for BBC Television News from Eritrea, Zaire, and Iran. Dring obtained International Reporter of the Year (‘Golden Nymph Award’) at Monte Carlo Television Festival to report on the Iranian Revolution for BBC Television News.

He received the "International Valiant For Truth" award for his reports from behind the lines with the EPLF guerrilla forces in Eritrea for BBC Television. Amnesty International recognized him for his radio documentary for BBC Radio 4 on Turkey’s war against the Kurds. He received The Sony Radio Awards for his reporting for BBC Radio 4 on the same incident. 

He was awarded The New York Festival Grand Prize for his BBC Radio 4 documentary on the US Invasion of Haiti. 

Role in Bangladesh media

In 1997, Simon Dring joined with partners in Bangladesh to develop, license, and build Ekushey Television, the first private, commercial terrestrial/satellite TV channel in Bangladesh, as joint managing director of ETV. He was deported in 2002 after the then BNP-led government cancelled ETV's broadcasting licence and ordered Dring to leave. 

In the past few years, Dring started working in television and journalism in Bangladesh again, for several different satellite networks, including chief broadcast adviser for the design, development, launch, and launch management of Jamuna Television.

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