Bengali Journalist Chooses Life

Fearing for his safety in Bangladesh, Shahed Alam now works for a New York-based bilingual TV station.

TimeTelevisionUSALogoThe circumstances that led Shahed Alam to emigrate from Bangladesh to New York this past winter are a harrowing and vivid reminder of just how perilous the profession of journalism remains in many parts of the world.

Alam, a correspondent with New York-based bilingual TV station Time Television U.S.A., is the subject of the latest weekly collaborative piece between Slate and Roads & Kingdoms. From Mansi Choski‘s article:

Until a year ago, Alam worked as on-air journalist for Channel 24 in his hometown of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city, reporting on politics, crime and the environment. During the country’s national election in 2014, he was a familiar face on air, traveling from polling center to polling center, broadcasting news about rigging, arson and murder. “After that I was in deep shit,” he says. “My enemies were from both sides: the fundamentalists and the government.”

Then three secular bloggers, an activist and a scientist, all of whom Alam knew, were murdered. Alam had a feeling he was next. “Every day was frightening,” he says. “I did not get hurt, but I had a strong feeling I was about to get hit.”

Last winter, he sold his home and car, left his job, and moved to New York. “If it came down to working at a Dunkin’ Donuts, I would do it,” he says. “It would have been devastating but I was prepared to do it.”

There’s also some great info in the article about the background of Time Television U.S.A. CEO Abu Taher, whose telephone call and job offer ensured that Alam did not have to opt for donut duty. The station recently celebrated its second anniversary.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
American-Bangladeshi Blogger Savagely Murdered in Dhaka

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.