|Founded||4 November 1998|
|Headquarters||CA Bhaban, 100 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Kawran Bazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh|
|Circulation||525,000 (January 2013)|
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 the largest & most popular newspaper in Bangladesh based on circulation and readership. It started its journey from 4 November 1998.
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. Along the path of its journey, Prothom Alo has broken all the prevalent circulation landmarks of the print newsmedia industry of Bangladesh. Among all the dailies published in the country, Prothom Alo has the highest circulation. From press facilities located in Dhaka, Chittagong and Bogra, around 5,32,000 copies (as of September ‘13) are circulated each day. According to National Media Survey 2012, every day 5.1 million people* read the print edition of Prothom Alo. The claimed readership of the print edition of this newspaper is 9.6 million. Prothom Alo does not only have the widest reader base as a whole, in every segment of readers, be it based on demographic, geographic, or economic parameters, Prothom Alo’s readership number is way ahead of any other newspaper. Because of courageous journalism, rich content, and presentation with unique layout and design, this newspaper quickly won the hearts of millions of people, even the most sophisticated and fastidious readers extended their loyalty toward it. Since then, Prothom Alo has been lighting up every nook and corner of Bangladesh along with 200 other countries and territories across the world through its online portal. According to a brand equity study conducted by Quantum Consumer Solutions Limited, Prothom Alo is considered to be the most influencing brand of Bangladesh. Prothom Alo has 29 offices across Bangladesh. Currently 514 people altogether, including 163 journalists, are working at Prothom Alo.
The online portal of Prothom Alo (www.prothom-alo.com) is the Number 1 Bangladeshi Web site in the world. This portal is accessed by 1.6 million visitors from 200 different countries and territories across the globe with 60 million pageview per month. The e-paper site of Prothom Alo (www.eprothomalo.com) is also the Number 1 e-paper Web site of Bangladesh. From 160 countries, 465 thousand visitors access this Web site with more than 26 million pageview per month. On an average, each of the visitors stays for 20 minutes in this Web site. Based on Facebook fan following, Prothom Alo is one of the leading corporate houses of Bangladesh. Till October ‘13, 768 thousand people are following this newspaper through Facebook. Prothom Alo Blog (www.prothom-aloblog.com) provides a well-moderated platform where thousands of bloggers share their constructive thoughts on various contemporary issues. Moreover, nearly 700 thousand Prothom Alo app for various digital and mobile platforms has been downloaded till October ‘13. Altogether, printed and digital versions of Prothom Alo are being read by 12 million people from Bangladesh and 200 other countries and territories in a month.
- Chuṭir dine (ছুটির দিনে :"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. Every Saturday, Chhutir Dine (Weekend) brings the stories of the people whose exemplary works have been taking Bangladesh forward. This supplementary magazine also includes weekly horoscope, readers’ write-ups, traveling stories, jokes, counseling, and lots of other interesting snippets.
- রস + আলো Rôsh + alo ("Humor + Light"): Rosh+Alo (Piquant) which comes out every Monday is full of cartoons, gentle satire, and pure fun.
- নকশা Nôksha ("Sketch"): Every Tuesday, tabloid Naksha (Design) presents a rich array of features and tips on fashion, grooming and makeover, cooking, home décor, and travel aiming to bring quality changes in the overall lifestyle of the readers.
- স্বপ্ন নিয়ে (Swapno Nie) : Swapno Nie (With Dreams), which comes on Sunday, acts as a beacon to the youth in their infinite endeavors, ambitions, achievements, and career headway.
- অধুনা (Adhuna): Reflecting the demands of the time, Wednesday’s Adhuna (Present Times) focuses on female rights and achievements, metro-life, legal issues, style, gadgets, career tips, relationship, and so on.
- আনন্দ Ananda ("Happiness"): Thursday’s Ananda (Enjoyment) is a veritable gallery of glittering pictures of celebrities and in-depth write-ups on the world of glamour. The celebrities could be from within the country as well as abroad, from TV, film, and stage, as well as from the world of music and dance.
- অন্য আলো Onno alo ("Different light"): Onno Alo (The Other Light) comes in every Friday and it brings home the achievements of many silent heroes who remain outside the reach of the main news or feature stories. It also provides weekly in-depth analysis of key international affairs happening around the globe through Cholti Bishwa (Current World).
- প্রজন্ম ডট কম Projonmo ḍôṭ kôm ("Generation.com"): Projonmo Dot Com (Generation Dot Com) gives updates and brings exciting stories of the technological world. The children’s corner, Gollachhut, refreshes the mind of the children and teenagers and satisfies their spirit of inquiry through articles, stories, and pictures. Last but not the least, there are literary pages that promote art, poetry, and literature.
- 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 Bondhushava
Bondhushava (Cohort of Friends) is another vibrant wing of Prothom Alo. Prothom Alo Bondhushava began its journey on 11 November 1998. Now it has about 70,000 volunteers, known as ‘friends’, living in different corners of the country. Prothom Alo also has a weekly supplement named as Bondhushava (Published every Sunday), which serves as a meeting ground for thousands of like-minded friends. Readers of Bondhushava renew their passion and their commitment toward positive change every week. The volunteers of Bondhushava are engaged with numerous types of philanthropic, cultural, and social activities across the country. They have distinguished themselves through their activities, learning, and sophistication. They are always ready to: provide relief to victims of monga, cyclone, flood, drought, and other natural disasters, Bring warmth to afflicted ones, Protest against acid violence, Raise their hands against the use of drugs, Create mass awareness on various social issues including HIV/AIDS, Work with dedication for any humanitarian cause etc.
Prothom Alo Trust
Breaking the typical role of a newspaper, Prothom Alo proactively involves itself in various philanthropic activities through Prothom Alo Trust. Prothom Alo not only speaks for the people who have been subjected to injustice, but also extends its support to the humanitarian causes as much as possible. The initiatives of Prothom Alo Trust have been highly praised both locally and internationally.
- Combat Against Acid Violence and Rehabilitation of Female Acid Survivors: The ‘Prothom Alo Support Fund’ for acid-burnt women was set up with the donation of one day’s salary by the journalists and staff of Prothom Alo. The fund is administered by a panel of advisers consisting of distinguished individuals. Till October ‘13, 282 female survivors of acid violence have been rehabilitated (mortgaged land, cattle, boats, etc were given for sustainable livelihood) by Prothom Alo Trust activities. Another 100 female survivors were supported through medical, legal, skill development, education scholarship fund, and monthly allowance assistance. This movement also influenced the government to declare capital punishment for acid violence. In the year 2001, a total of 252 incidents of acid violence took place. In 2012, the number of acid violence incidents came down to 84. The fund has also contributed to the refurbishing of the Burn Unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. The movement against acid violence began on 19 April 2000. It still continues, bringing hope to the survivors of 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.
- Anti-drug Awareness Campaign: 1 April 2003, thousands of young people gathered in a rally and committed themselves to fight against drugs. They raised their voice against drugs, initiating a social movement that soon came to be known as the ‘Prothom Alo Anti-Drugs Movement’. The advisory panel of this movement comprises renowned celebrities. Prothom Alo Trust organizes a monthly consultation event to generate awareness regarding drug abuse among people and extends its support to the drug abusers and their families and helps them to return to the mainstream life. Several concerts are also organized every year on International Day against Drug Abuse, 26 June, to raise awareness among the youth of the country. Along with the concerts, rallies are arranged in all the districts for cross-country awareness. Prothom Alo Trust has given fund support to a renowned drug rehabilitation center Apon Gaon to rehabilitate street children dependant on substance use from a very tender age. Educational institution awareness campaigns are regularly organized in schools, colleges, and universities. A group of representatives go to the institutions and distribute leaflets, stickers, posters, and other promotional materials. Doctors and psychologists also take part in the activities to give a first-hand advice to the generation next. Prothom Alo Trust also provides unique ‘phone-in’ facility, where doctors and psychiatrists give advices over phone.
- Fund for Disadvantaged Meritorious Students – Adamya Medhabi: To all students – boys and girls – who have attained GPA-5 in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination and are financially weak, the Trust extends its help through a Scholarship Program. Prothom Alo journalists roam around the country and act as scouts for enlisting students for whom the program is designed. Through this scheme, Prothom Alo provides the encouragement and support these brilliant, young aspirants need to achieve their dreams. Every year with the support of BRAC Bank, Prothom Alo Trust enrols 50 students at college level. Furthermore, those who pass college with good results get assistance for higher education till master’s degree. Prothom Alo Trust is also supporting 10 female students, who are first in their families, to get enrolled and continue their education in the Asian University of Women.
- Relief Fund: One of the vital operations of Prothom Alo Trust is the maintenance of the ‘Prothom Alo Relief Fund’. To combat the effects of cyclones, drought, and monga (Monga is a Bengali term referring to the yearly cyclical phenomenon of poverty and hunger in Bangladesh). This Fund distributes food, drinking water, oral saline, clothes, and so on. The Trust made significant contribution to the victims of cyclones Sidr and Aila. Prothom Alo Trust with the technical assistance of Caritas Bangladesh built a cyclone shelter in Shyamnagar (coastal area near Sundarban). The cyclone center can accommodate up to 2,000 people together. However, round the year the local people operate a school for the local poor children in that building. The Trust has also established a school in Kurigram district at a remote char in Bramhapurta River. Currently, 204 students of the char attend the school. The schooling is absolutely free of cost and light snacks are provided to the children every day. Previously, for several years Prothom Alo Trust stood by the localities of that char and provided them with various relief materials, and along the process the inhabitants began naming the char after Prothom Alo. Today, this char has been officially named as Prothom Alo Char. Till date, funds of more than BDT 20 million have been collected for the victims of Savar Rana Plaza Collapse and the Trust has been supporting 100 victims under ‘Meril-Prothom Alo Savar Support Fund’ campaign. Building school rooms for Nilphamari Madrasa, and raising a BDT 1.5 million fund for a hospital by a rickshaw puller are few important activities under the Relief Fund.
- Standing by Persecuted Journalists: Free flow of information is still a difficult proposition for Bangladesh. Many a newsperson in pursuit of this ideal is routinely persecuted, oppressed, or tortured. Prothom Alo considers it a sacred duty to stand by them. Journalist Tipu Sultan is a case in point. He was seriously injured when the former Member of Parliament from Feni, Joynal Hazari, assaulted him. On 7 April 2001, journalists and staff of The Daily Star and Prothom Alo contributed one day’s salary to set up a fund for Sultan’s treatment. The fund collected around BDT 2.7 million as donations from home and abroad. The money raised helped Sultan go to Bangkok’s Bamrungrad Hospital for treatment. After eight surgeries, Sultan finally recovered and returned home. The ‘Persecuted Journalist Support Fund’ was set up was on 9 March 2006. The first recipient of the fund was the struggling family of journalist Nohor Ali of Khulna.
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 Farukh Wasif, 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, under the leadership of its editor, Mr. Matiur Rahman, has been carrying on a war against acid violence, drugs, HIV/AIDS, and religious terrorism. For his contribution to this fight, the Philippines-based Ramon Magsayysay Award Foundation has described Mr. Matiur Rahman as ‘the guiding force in the positive changes in society and culture’ and in 2005 honored him with a Magsaysay Award, which is considered to be the 'Nobel Prize of Asia'. Mr. Rahman donated the prize money in equal proportion to the three funds that Prothom Alo Trust has set up to help and support acid-burnt women, anti-drugs campaign, and persecuted journalists.
Prothom Alo, which belongs to Mediastar Ltd., has the following sister concerns:
- ABC Radio: Commercial operation of ABC Radio FM 89.2 commenced from 7 January 2009. It is one of the most popular FM radio channels of Dhaka city. Besides Dhaka, it is also being aired from Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar stations.
- Prothoma Prokashon : Prothoma Prokashon is a publication house that started its journey from 2008. This publication house has been highly praised by different quarters for its quality publication works. Prothoma Prokashon received awards from Bangla Academy in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
- Prothoma Boier Dunia: Prothoma Boier Dunia or Prothoma World of Books is a book selling outlet with 5 stores in Dhaka, Chittagong and Rajshahi.
- Protichinta: Protichinta is a quarterly journal on social, economical, and political issues.
- Kishor Alo : Kishor Alo, a monthly magazine for the youngsters, started its journey from October 2013. Stories, novels, poems, quizzes, magic, adventures, traveling, science, drawing, and many other interesting features are published in this amazing, colorful monthly magazine.
- Prothom Alo Jobs: Prothom Alo Jobs offers regular recruitment solutions, corporate training services, and career counseling.
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 an 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.
- "Current Circulation". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
- "Prothom Alo Editor Gets Magsaysay Award". Voice of America. 2005-08-01.
- [National Media Survey 2012, SIRIUS Marketing and Social Research Ltd. (Associate of IMRB International)]
- [National Media Survey 2012 (SIRIUS Marketing and Social Research Ltd.), Google Analytics, Alexa, Facebook]
- "পাহাড়ে বিভীষিকা". Chutir Dine, Prothom Alo. 2007-06-16. pp. 3–16.
- Waheed, Karim (2006-10-20). "Readers' delight: Special publications on Eid". The Daily Star.
- "Bangladesh through Matiur Rahman of Prothom Alo's eyes". Adgully.com. 2013-04-22.
- WHEN MEDIA TAKES A STAND FOR SOCIAL CHANGE: THE EXPEERIENCE OF PROTHOM ALO IN BANGLADESH. Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. 2005-09-02.
- "Bangladesh IMO team 2007". Bangladesh Mathematics Olympiad Committee. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- Rahman, Matiur. "2005 Ramon Magsaysay Awards: WHEN MEDIA TAKES A STAND FOR SOCIAL CHANGE: THE EXPEERIENCE OF PROTHOM ALO IN BANGLADESH".
- "Prothom Alo ordered to suspend 'Alpin' publication". The Independent. 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2007-09-25.