Salzburg Global Fellow Shahidul Alam Profiled for TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” Feature

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Dec 20, 2018
by Oscar Tollast
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Salzburg Global Fellow Shahidul Alam Profiled for TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” Feature

Bangladeshi photographer and activist highlighted in the magazine’s annual end-of-year piece Shahidul Alam speaking at Salzburg Global Seminar

TIME magazine has profiled Salzburg Global Fellow Shahidul Alam as part of its “Person of the Year” feature.

The Bangladeshi photographer and activist is a part of TIME magazine’s spotlight on “the Guardians” and the “War on Truth” – this year’s winner.

The Person of the Year feature profiles a person, group, idea, or object that has done the most to influence the events of the year.

The magazine honored several journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi, Capital Gazette staffers, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. It also highlighted numerous examples of journalists who have been attacked in the course of their work, including Alam.

Karl Vick, writing for TIME, said, “In 2018, journalists took note of what people said, and of what people did. When those two things differed, they took note of that too. The year brought no great change in what they do or how they do it. What changed was how much it matters.”

Earlier this year, Alam was jailed for more than 100 days in response to statements he made during student-led mass protests in Dhaka.

Speaking with TIME, Alam said, “The world over, journalism is under threat. Whether you’re a teacher, a dancer, a painter, or a journalist, each one of us needs to be constantly fighting.”

In August, Salzburg Global expressed its concern for the welfare of Alam and helped spread information about his situation with the wider Fellowship. Last month, Alam was granted bail by Bangladesh’s high court. He had previously applied for bail four times.

Alam still faces up to 14 years in prison on charges of spreading propaganda against the government under the Bangladeshi’s International Communication and Technology Act (ICT), according to TIME.

Despite this possibility, Alam remains undaunted and plans to cover elections in Bangladesh this month.

Alam has previously attended two Salzburg Global programs. In 2013, he joined Salzburg Global as a faculty member for Power in Whose Palm? The Digital Democratization of Photography. In 2016, meanwhile, he was a participant at Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability. At both programs, he shared his photography and activism with Fellows from around the world.