Mumbai: The editor of Purbpposchim.com where Bangladeshi photojournalist Jibon Ahmed was working, denied publishing the photo of a couple ‘lip kissing’. Ahmed did not falter and decided to post the picture on his social media and it got him ‘fame’ overnight on Facebook and Instagram.
Ahmed said he captured the moment in his camera as he was filled with joy and purity of love seeing the couple ‘lip kissing’ in the rain.
But the decision of Ahmed of posting the picture backfired as next day, some of his fellow photographers roughed him up and his boss asked him to submit his ID and official laptop. He was fired without being given a proper explanation.
Talking to this correspondent Ahmed said he did not find anything wrong or obscene in the couple’s spontaneous kiss.
Where was the picture taken?
I was searching for photographs near the University of Dhaka when I saw the couple ‘lip kissing’ in the rain. The moment I saw the couple, it filled me with delight and I captured the moment. I have then sent it to my newsroom within seconds. But my editors rejected and decided not to publish the picture.
According to reports, University of Dhaka campus has witnessed protests and violent incidents in the past few months. Three students were suspended in July for allegedly assaulting two students who were holding hands.
How did society react to your photograph?
The photograph received extreme reactions. Bangladesh - a Muslim majority nation didn't accept the picture very well and criticised it that earlier people used to do this behind closed doors but now people are doing openly. Soon, they will be making love in public. This is against the culture of our society.
While others accepted the photograph and took it as a spirit of ‘unselfconscious joy’. One of the special correspondents, Tanim Ahmed wrote an opinion article in Dhaka Tribune where the picture was appreciated and said that during such ‘suffocating’ times, a photo like this ‘instils hope that all is not yet lost’.
What were your editors and colleagues take on the attack on you?
Nur-e-Naharin, editor of Purboposchim.com said the attack wasn't related to my professional duties but was result of personal actions. When I contacted my editor for an explanation as well as finding the reason for firing me, he said, “its ‘management decision’”.
Most of the journalists here in Bangladesh think that I was wrong but there are certain journalists and some senior journalists too who support me.
While reports quoting the editor of Purboposchim.com said Ahmed did not report to work after being attacked and has been ‘absent’ since July 24.
What do you personally think of the photograph?
I was really disheartened that my seniors didn’t publish the photo as they felt it would get a negative response. In fact, the couple didn’t even object to the photograph. I wouldn’t tolerate being victim of moral policing.
I think it’s a symbol of pure love. I feel people have become educated only on papers but not in reality. They have failed to understand the underlying meaning of the photo.
It’s been a week since Jibon Ahmed was attacked and his editor fired him for the photograph. Currently, ‘hopeful’ Ahmed is looking for a job in the same country which back lashed his photograph....