Bangladeshi Photographer Fired and Attacked for Photo of Couple Kissing

A well-known Bangladeshi photographer has spoken out to insist he is the victim of “unwanted cruelty” after he was sacked and had violent force used against him, for taking a picture of a couple kissing. The image has been heavily condemned in the conservative Muslim-majority country and caused a social media backlash.

The news outlet at which photographer Jibon Ahmed worked – entitled The Purboposhchimbd – declared him as “not fit to work” after doubts emerged over whether or not the kiss was staged.

Taking to Facebook, Ahmed has now written a post in which he detailed his experience since posting the photo, saying that one person had even “slapped” him while confronting him over the picture. Taken on the campus of the Dhaka University, Ahmed captioned it with the words “Songs of rains — let love be free.” The photo was also run by the news site.

It is being debated as to whether the image has violated Bangladesh’s public decency laws, and some questioned whether the photographer had permission from the couple.

Purboposhchimbd later published a further article to clarify that the image was “pre-planned,” and that Ahmed apologised. They also addressed the violent attacks, advising him to seek legal action, but observing that Ahmed had not showed up to the planned meeting to discuss the matter. The editor can be quoted as saying that due to staging the photo with “models,” Ahmed is unfit to work for the news site.

Lead image: Ibrahim Asad from Pexels

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Spy Black's picture

Sometimes you wonder if WW III would really be all that bad...

Robert Nurse's picture

Their country, their rules. Don't like the rules, don't go there without doing your research. Looking at this through an American lens (no pun intended) is the height of hubris. After all, there are plenty of behavior right here at home that wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.

Usman Dawood's picture

Unless they have oil, then we need to help them get freedom :P

Motti Bembaron's picture

Ah, that's a good one :-). You are right to point out the hypocrisy of the west not confronting the real culprit of ignorance and religious oppression -since they have oil. However, don't over estimate your ability to help with other' with freedom, they don't have a clue how to handle it and as we can see so far, it achieved only chaos, not freedom.

Duane Klipping's picture

And this makes it justified in your eyes? Wow.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"Don't like the rules, don't go there without doing your research."
He didn't "go there", and he wasn't "looking at this through an American lens" - he's a Bangladeshi.
Doh! Reading comprehension much?

Eric Mazzone's picture

He didn't go there, he is FROM there! Literate much?

Robert Nurse's picture

"Literate much"? Please explain.

Eric Mazzone's picture

You're not worth explaining this to.

David Pavlich's picture

Makes me appreciate the years I got to spend in New Orleans where every third person has a camera and you can walk down the street with a 1Dx and a 70-200 on it and nobody would notice.

Mark James's picture

I think photo spinning 101 is required here in the US.

Robert Nurse's picture

Especially when you don't like what they "stage".

Another Username's picture

Im on Fstoppers almost everyday....I see your posts all the time....usually and not surprising on "political" posts.....your stance and your political preference are most obvious...we get it, you own a bright red hat. That said, I posted here today because I am so utterly sick of the ignorance of the words FAKE NEWS...and more specifically when a fellow creative falls right into their trap.

FAKE NEWS (definition AND THE ONLY DEFINITION) is: News presented by an entity, (person or organization) pretending to be from a completely separate entity. IE> I post a piece of 100% FACTUAL INFORMATION saying something like 2+2=4....but I post it saying I am from Fox News (when I am in no way affiliated with them). That is the ONLY definition of FAKE news.

If CNN, MSNBC, FOX, Beiatbart, info wars, Drudge, or WHOEVER....wants to post any POS story claiming to be facts....that can indeed be FALSE NEWS, OR INCORRECT NEWS, OR EVEN LYING NEWS.....however, if it comes from the entity that it claims to come from, THEN IT IS NOT FAKE.

Make no mistake, there is a very clear difference between FALSE NEWS and FAKE NEWS. This is the reason why Facebook lets infowars exist (false news)....and they are right to do so....infowars may spread the dumbest nonsense, but if Alex Jones writes it, and then posts it, under infowars name, as absurd and nonsensical as it may be....its not FAKE NEWS. That would actually be considered STUPID NEWS, or NEWS TO BE READ BY MORONS. But its not FAKE NEWS.

TRUMP, distorts the meaning to be a catch all, his cronies, use is an easy way out of an argument (especially when they don't like where its heading).

Don't spread the ignorance, you claim to be smarter than that, prove it. You may not like the news coming out of NBC OR CNN (I don't like the news coming out of FOX OR CNN OR NBC) but neither of them reporting (even FALSE information) is FAKE NEWS if their corporate overlords approve it.

David Pavlich's picture

I watch NO television news since it has become so focused on "we were first" regardless of whether or not a story is factual or hear say. True journalism died some time ago and if you or anyone else accepts stories without a healthy dose of skepticism, you are prime fodder for buying a bridge from some guy on the corner of Walk & Don't Walk.

Another Username's picture

Nothing of what I posted was talking about the belief of a story. Or even about news agencies getting the story first or even which news is “right”

My comment was to point out the over use and incorrect use of the term Fake News.

It’s only fake news if you claim it to be from a source it is not. As in “reporting” from said source. Not the source of the story itself. Which could indeed be false.

It’s an important distinction that is overlooked by the highest position in the land. I’m sorry if you disagree. But it’s true. Terminology and words actually do mean something.

David Pavlich's picture

While your lesson in semantics is correct, whether someone says "false news" or "fake news", most get the intent of the message. Regardless, if it's coming from what passes as a journalist today, there's an excellent chance that it's full of fecal matter.

Spy Black's picture

Unfortunately, those on the left fall for the same tricks as those on the right:

Unplug from The Matrix...

Anonymous's picture

While I agree with your statement (neither “side” is immune to persuasion and faultless) I’m confused about your evidence. This is a clip from a Sinclair Broadcasting “must read” for their local networks, and I was under the impression from polysci studies and previous actions that Sinclair leaned conservative.

Eric Mazzone's picture

Sinclair is flat out conservative, unless you live in Infowars land, then it's way too liberal. Of course anything left on KKK on the Infowars scale is a flaming commie.

Robert Nurse's picture

The term "fake news" singularly means "news I don't like". False reporting is just that and is usually discovered and thrown to the dung heap. "Fake news" continues to be just the opposite. Categorizing something as "fake news" and having it continually verified or its opposite unverifiable is in itself telling. 4229 and counting.

Eric Mazzone's picture

Blowed up? Learn English, the proper verb form is BLEW UP! Dumb ass.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Photography rules and laws can be tricky. A lot of photographers come here and do street photography or candid photography, completely unaware that by law you have to blur the faces of anyone who hasn't given consent to be in the photo. That being said, the odds of actually being sued are so low that some news outlets don't even bother doing it.
It's interesting that he seems to be getting in trouble for posing people for a photo, though, it seems like a common practice in a number of places.

Cliff Broughton's picture

Where is "here"? Assuming that you're in another country (remember, global audience ;-) ), as I understand it, in the US, you can shoot anyone in public without issue, as long as the image isn't used for commercial purposes. With few exceptions (think restroom, etc), a person has no expectation of privacy in a public setting, like a beach or on the street.

But you're absolutely right. The laws vary greatly from one country to the next and it would be easy to get into deep....trouble if you're not aware of them.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Apologies, 'here" is Japan. I have Japan listed as my place of residence in my profile, so if you hover over my picture it will say "Kawasaki" and if you go to my profile it says Japan. However, I suppose I should have still clearly stated where I was talking about.

Cliff Broughton's picture

There are two issues here. 1. The violence afflicted on the photographer. 2. Was a news photo staged?

Clearly, violence afflicted on a photographer anywhere for the content in an image is bad. I suspect that the vast majority of us will agree on that, so, moving on.....

According to the article, the photographer was dismissed when the employer, a news outlet, "declared him as 'not fit to work' after doubts emerged over whether or not the kiss was staged."

News outlets have specific standards. One of the universal standards is that photos shall never be staged or grossly edited ( editing for exposure, correcting defects like dust, etc is ok). If the photo was presented as news and was staged, then it would be grounds for dismissal. If it was art, and stated that it was posed, then there would be no issue. Without context, we don't know if the news outlet was justified for dismissing it. If the allegations are true, then he isn't the first news photographer to be dismissed for this and certainly won't be the last.

My personal view is that the dismissal for staging a news photo and the violence inflicted on the photographer by others are two completely unrelated issues.

As art, it's fine. As a news image, if it's staged, it's bad.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Public expression of affection is a big no no in many Muslim countries, he should have known better. He said that he was expecting the university would show more lenient attitude and liberal views but he was obviously mistaken.

Eric Mazzone's picture

He's from there, I'm pretty sure he knows and understands the cultural norms better than your American butt.

Motti Bembaron's picture

First of all, I am not an American, I am an Israeli-Canadian. However, you seem to be one.

Secondly, although I am sure he knows much better than my Canadian butt, he obviously was hoping for a more leniency from a sharia driven university. Turned out to be a mistake.

I was in Dhaka a few times and I was told, politely, to be aware what say or do. That was almost 12 years ago, it seems nothing changed (or maybe gone worse).

He took a risk and he knew that. Unfortunately it did not turned out the way he hoped.

Cliff Broughton's picture


The photo in question is "The couple were snapped kissing in monsoon rain on the steps of the Dhaka University campus. " This is on a beach somewhere. The actual photo can be seen at

The photo above is a nice picture, and may elicit favorable opinions towards the photographer, but except for it being a couple kissing, it has nothing to do with the news content. This is exactly the same reason that the photographer was fired! oops!

Neu Porabno's picture

Have you scrolled just a bit or just read the title?? The image in question is displayed within the article clearly stating where and how it was taken. Top image is just a featured photo with same topic (shot somewhere where probably this is nothing to even talk about - maybe as a contrast??).

Rayann Elzein's picture

To be honest, that image does not display in my browser... Must have been detected as an ad by my ad blocker... Says a lot about this site :D

Daniel Medley's picture

No, it says a lot about your ad blocker ...

Rayann Elzein's picture

According to you the most acclaimed ad blocker on Firefox is totally crap then. Good to know!

Daniel Medley's picture

If you can see the word "crap" in my response, I'll give you one million dollars. If your ad blocker is blocking non-ads then, yes, the problem is with the ad blocker, not the site.

Jacob Lundqvist's picture

It wasn't a commercial, it was the fstoppers photo at the top of the article, it did confuse me as well, after reading the title of the article. And then the article started right below it about a couple kissing.
As I continued to read after a couple of paragraphs, the actual photo scrolled into view, at that point it was obvious what picture the article was about.

I do think that this was bad editing from Fstoppers, why top the article with an image visually matching the title, but actually totally unrelated?

Jacob Lundqvist's picture

So the phtog was damned either way. If he would say it was a stolen moment, it would qualify as a news photo, but then he would get into trouble for showing them kissing without them giving consent since obviously, people wouldn't sign a release for such a photo in Bangladesh.
If he on the other side claims it was staged, it is no longer qualifying to be news photography, and might still be considered indecent public display.
So, in the end, it was mostly bad judgment. He should have been able to predict the consequences before posting it.

And before anybody makes sarcastic comments about photographic rights in Bangladesh. Do remember that you are not actually allowed to take photos of the Eifel tower at night since the light setup is copyrighted. Non-commercial usage is either excluded or simply tolerated, can't remember which, but you wouldn't be able to post such a pic in a news media, without paying the appropriate fee.