Press freedom shrinking: Dutch ambassador

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, Anne van Leeuwen, opens the Global Press Photo Exhibition at DrikPath Bhaban on Panthopath in Dhaka on Friday. — New corporate photo

Press freedom is shrinking in Bangladesh and freedom of speech, rule of law and democratic practice are crucial for a country, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, Anne van Leeuwen, said on Friday.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are violated by the very people who are supposed to protect the rights of the people,” he said at the opening of the World Press Photo exhibit at DrikPath Bhobon. , in the capital.

He said journalists were working everywhere under constant threat.

Freedom of expression is a constitutional right of citizens that must be protected to ensure the rule of law,” added the Dutch envoy.

Among others, Abir Abdullah, Jury Member of World Press Photo, Joumana El Zein Khoury, Executive Director of World Press Photo Foundation, and Shahidul Alam, Managing Director of Drik, spoke at the event.

Shahidul Alam, also a renowned photographer, stressed the importance of a censorship-free space to exhibit works of art.

“We live in a repressive environment where we need space to express ourselves freely. Our goal is to provide a censorship-free space for Drik,” the former World Press Photo jury president said.

He also mentioned that all the photographs exhibited at the event were printed in Bangladesh.

“This exhibit is a testament to photography in Bangladesh which has come a long way and can meet international standards,” he said.

Abir Abdullah shared his journey as a jury member for the World Press Photo exhibition.

“Drik has worked with the WPPF for a long time. As a member of the jury, I learned a lot. I learned to select not only the best photos, but also the photos that tell an untold story,” he said.

An independent global jury, consisting of a Bangladeshi photographer and six others, selected 4,066 photographs out of 64,823 submissions from 130 countries.

Twenty-four photographs from 23 countries have been announced as regional winners in four categories of the 65th World Press Photo Contest, offering a variety of perspectives from around the world.

The award-winning works present stories, ideas and a variety of interpretations on issues such as the climate crisis, civil rights movements, access to education and the preservation of Indigenous practices and identity.

Among the selected photographs, American photographer Amber Bracken’s Residential School received the World Press Photo of the Year award.

In addition, Saving Forests with Fire by Australian Matthew Abbott won the World Press Photo Story of the Year, Amazonian Dystopia by Brazilian Lalo de Almeida won the WPP Long-Term Project Award while Blood is a Seed by Ecuadorian Isadora Romero won the WPP Open Format Award.

The exhibition is open to the public until November 21, every day from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The WPP 2022 exhibition premiered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on April 15 this year.

On his world tour since then, he has traveled to more than 20 countries so far.

World Press Photo was founded in 1955 by a group of Dutch photographers.

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