Dhaka, March 3: The Ganajagoron Mancha that is organising the Shahbag demonstrations has earned the reputation of being aggressively democratic. But today it surprised many of its supporters by announcing it was banning photography in a measure that some call “anti-democratic”.
“Please do not take photographs with your mobile phones and cameras or else such equipment will be confiscated,” the evening announcement over the public address system said. “Only bona fide journalists will be allowed to click pictures.”
At the core of the Shahbag demos is an outfit that calls itself the Bloggers and Online Activists Network. The activists had posted appeals and pictures on social networking sites to mobilise the street demonstrations since February 5 after the photograph of Abdul Quader Mollah flashing a victory sign after being given the life term went viral.
Now, the protesters find many of these sites have been “invaded” by Internet users close to the Jamaat or against their politics. “If we do not know who is clicking our photographs, they may be misused,” an activist said. “They will use our photographs and distort them to mean something else — like saying that we are in cahoots with Indians.”