In 1989, a small group of people set up a picture agency in the unlikely location of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Named Drik, the Sanskrit word for vision, the agency set out to represent a group of media professionals that other agencies did not cater for, practitioners living and working in the majority world. In the years that have followed, many others from Asia, Africa and Latin America have joined the original group. All of them share a common vision; one that sees the majority world, not as fodder for disaster reporting, but as a vibrant source of human energy and a challenge to an exploitative global economic system. Having pioneered the introduction of email into Bangladesh, Drik continues to take the lead in new media, through not only the launch of the nation’s first webzine Meghbarta, the web portal Orientation, and the country’s human rights portal Banglarights, but also through its broadband direct satellite link. Drik’s social commitment is central to its work ethos. While its professional team making up the library, darkroom, studio, gallery and publication, multimedia and Internet departments provides state of the art media products for an international clientele, it also provides support for its network of creative individuals around the world who challenge western media hegemony. Its training programmes range from providing education for working class children to training the region’s brightest young photojournalists through Pathshala, its education wing, where top professionals from Magnum, National Geographic, Time, Contact Press Images and other leading media organisations make up the visiting faculty. The launch of the first festival of photography in Asia, Chobi Mela, Majority World, a portal for promoting the work of non-western photographers and the Media Academy will ensure that Drik continues to carve out a space for itself in world media.
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