Publishing from the Streets: Citizen Journalism
UC Regents' Lecturer: Shahidul Alam
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
6275 Bunche Hall, UCLA
Amongst the two words most often discussed in every institution offering courses in modern communication these days are "citizen" and "journalism". The rise of the amateur writer and publisher has been driven by giant strides in personal technology. "Blogging" is now widely recognized throughout the world. Inexpensive computers, digital cameras and the internet have presented individuals with a new chance to reach audiences. While disillusionment with traditional media is widespread, rumours -- unsubstantiated, libelous and sometimes dangerous - also feed much net content. The jury is out in terms of what constitutes the most effective journalism.
But the phenomenal entry barriers to traditional media, and increasingly greater control over the media by governments, has led to shifts in battle strategies. While governments scurry to enact new laws to curb cyberdissidents, the collective strength of new media savvy activist communities, have become the most potent source of media resistance. With the military emerging as a political force in South Asia, the citizen journalist is the new David. This talk will open up this ongoing debate and try to feel the pulse of a shifting media landscape, and in particular it will attempt to assess the place of media streaming, blogging, and the internet amidst the political turmoil in contemporary Bangladesh.
About Shahidul Alam:
Shahidul Alam is one of the world's most recognized and exciting photographers and a major figure in the public, intellectual, and cultural life of Bangladesh. The sheer versatility of Mr. Alam's accomplishments can be gauged from the fact that he is a principal figure in the human rights movement in Bangladesh, but also the person who first introduced email to Bangladesh and first launched a photography gallery in the nation's capital. He founded the Bangladesh Human Rights Network (www.banglarights.net) in 2001. His work in the late 1980s and early 1990s was recognized by the Mother Jones Award in 1992, the first time it had ever been awarded to an Asian. He has since gone on to win numerous international recognitions, including the Andrea Frank Foundation Award and the Howard Chapnick Award [for excellence in photojournalism], both conferred in 1998, and induction as a Honorary Fellow into the Royal Photographic Society (UK). Mr. Alam also serves as a juror for National Geographic. He founded the Drik Picture Library (www.drik.net) in 1989, the Bangladesh Photographic Institute in 1990, Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography (www.pathshala.net) in 1998, and Meghbarta, Bangladesh's first webzine (www.meghbarta.org) in 1999. Pathshala brings to Dhaka visiting professors, not only of photography, but of allied fields, such as literature, art, and art history. As though this were not enough, Mr. Alam founded Chobi Mela (www.chobimela.org), a festival of photography, in 2000. His own photographs have been exhibited in the leading venues of the world, including the Museum of Modern Art [MOMA}, New York, the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Tehran, and the Photographer's Gallery in London. His photographs have been published in newspapers and magazines of mass circulation, among them Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Observer, Liberation, Paris Match and The New Straits Times. Among the latest initiatives in which he is involved is majorityworld.com, which "champions the cause of indigenous photographers from the developing world and the global South."
See also ShahidulNews at shahidul.wordpress.com
On his visit to UCLA as a Regents' Lecturer, Mr. Alam will also be available on campus to those faculty and students who wish to speak to him about his work. To set up an appointment with him, please email him at email@example.com.
Picture caption: The feet of a Bangladeshi migrant worker in Paris. (Photo by Shahidul Alam)