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Prothom Alo (Bengali: প্রথম আলো Prothom Alo “First Light”) is a major daily newspaper in Bangladesh, published from Dhaka in the Bengali language. Prothom Alo is considered as most popular newspaper in Bangladesh and takes an editorial stance that favors pro Left-wing politics; its editor Matiur Rahman is widely known as a left-wing politician.
Prothom Alo was founded on 4 November 1998. The circulation from Prothom Alo grew from an initial circulatin of 42,000 to a circulation of a half million copies. The newspaper distinguished itself by its investigations of acid attacks and violence against women and pushing for tougher laws against the sale of acid.
- ছুটির দিনে Chuṭir dine (“On the day off”): Saturday featured supplement, covering important and successful stories of Bangladesh in their cover story every week. A section called “special essay” covers interesting news of famous journals of outside world. কার্যকারণ Karjokaron (“Causal relation”) is the section where scientific explanation of activities are described. ঘর মন জানালা Ghor mon janala is the place for readers to share personal experience about aspects of their life. Mehtab Khanom, a professor of psychology from Dhaka University runs the section মনের জানালা Moner janala (“Window of the mind”) to provide tips for psychological situations given by the audience. Musician and astrologer Kausar Ahmed Chowdhury regularly contributes আপনার রাশি Apnar rashi (“Your sign of the zodiac”) for explaining fortunes of the readers in satirical way. It also circulates regular quiz competition for the audience. The current editor-in-charge of this 24 page supplement is Iqbal hossain chowdhury.
- স্টেডিয়াম Sṭeḍiam (“Stadium”): Sunday supplement on sports
- বিজ্ঞান প্রজন্ম Biggên projonmo (“Science Generation”): Sunday supplement on science
- রস + আলো Rôsh + alo (“Humor + Light”): Monday’s humor-related magazine
- নকশা Nôksha (“Sketch”): Tuesday supplement on lifestyle
- বন্ধুসভা (“Friend’s meeting”): Published on Mondays as a writing and uniting stage of young generation
- স্বাস্থ্য কুশল Shastho kushôl (“Health and well-being”): Wednesday supplement on health
- আনন্দ Ananda (“Happiness”): Thursday supplement
- অন্য আলো Onno alo (“Different light”): Friday supplement
- প্রজন্ম ডট কম Projonmo ḍôṭ kôm (“Generation.com”): Friday supplement on information technology
- প্রথম আলো ঈদ সংখ্যা Prothom Alo Eid Sonkha A special edition every year at Eid ul-Fitr. This Prothom Alo Eid edition includes fiction, historical articles and photos.
- Prothom Alo
Matiur Rahman has been the editor of the newspaper since its founding in 1998. He received the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts in 2005.
Noted columnists regularly write columns for Prothom Alo. Writer and columnist Muhammad Zafar Iqbal regularly contributes his column “Shadashidhe Kotha”. Another writer and Deputy Editor of Prothom Alo Anisul Hoque regularly contributes his satirical column “GodyoCartoon”. Other regular columnists include Syed Manzoorul Islam, ABM Musa, Syed Abul Maqsud, Abul Momen, Abul Hayat, and Abu Ahmed.
Prothom Alo helped to popularise Mathematics in Bangladesh. It organized Mathematics Olympiad for the first time in Bangladesh in 2003. It is one of the main sponsors and the main organizer of Bangladesh Mathematics Olympiad.
Prothom Alo is often criticized for its liberal attitude. In a cartoon by Arifur Rahman was published in Alpin about a jokes partly related with religion, creates a unconstructive environment at the publication. A subsequent order was given from the government to ban the supplement. The editor of the Prothom Alo acknowledge the gaffe for that time. In a statement released by Prothom Alo, the editor of Alpin, Matiur Rahman, apologised, expressing regret for publishing the cartoon.
Recently in 2012, A High Court bench issued an injunction on the publication of Humayun Ahmed’s political fiction Deyal at Daily Prothom Alo’s weekly Shahitto Samwiki on a Friday. The bench of Justice also asked the government and the writer to explain why they should not be directed to correct a part of the fiction for presenting a ‘distorted’ version of the assassination of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rhaman and his minor son sheikh Russell. The controversial part of the fiction was published by Bangla daily Prothom Alo in its May 11 issue. The chapters portrayed Khandker Moshtaque in a manner that he did not know about the killings beforehand.
Drive against Acid Violence
In 2000, the newspaper established the Prothom Alo Aid Fund to help people who are victims of attacks with acid, which frequently cause disfigurement. As of 2005, the fund had raised $140,000 and provided services for 140 people.