Alliance Francaise de Dacca is a posh place in Dhaka City and the gathering was as usual a classy one in the Saturday afternoon. People were chit chatting and exchanging little jokes here and there at the open terrace under the bright sky.
Yet, a burkha-clad woman suddenly took the centre stage. Her laconic speech suddenly became a bomb shell that petrified the surroundings and all the people around suddenly immersed with innumerable emotions.
“Kolom jeno thame na… (let the pen must not be stopped…)” the words of Nurunnahar Khatun created an incredibly heart-wrenching moment while the widower stumbled with weeping and unable to finish her sentence.
Nurunnahar is the widow of Abdul Hakim Shimul, whose life was tragically cut short, allegedly at the hands of a politician's henchmen in a northern Bangladeshi town of Shahjadpur in Sirajganj district. She was the guest during the inaugural of Bangladeshi Journalists in International Media (BJIM), a unity of Bangladeshi journalists working from home and abroad for reputed global media outlets.
BJIM started its journey exactly a year ago but it was formally launched on Saturday with three objectives - establish it as a key mouthpiece of media freedom in Bangladesh and South Asia, organise various workshops and seminars for journalists and ensure medical and financial safety net for journalists in Bangladesh and South Asia.
To mark the one-year anniversary of its inception and official debut, BJIM is holding a week-long photo exhibition titled ‘Third Eye: Witnessing Our Time’ from 22 July, 2023, at the Zoom Gallerie of Alliance Francaise Dhanmondi, Dhaka (AFD).
Also on 25, 27, 28, and 29 July, there will be four panel discussions on contemporary issues where distinguished personnel of the country including eminent journalists will chair the panels.
Sam Jahan, a Reuters correspondent, is the founding Convener of BJIM, and Al Jazeera journalist Faisal Mahmud is serving as its member secretary.