The Daily 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 second largest newspaper in Bangladesh based on circulation. According to National Media Survey 2014, conducted by MRB Bangladesh, more than 4.3 million people read the print edition of Prothom Alo every day. The online portal of Prothom Alo is the most visited Bangladeshi and Bengali website of the world. It started its journey on 4 November 1998.
Prothom Alo was founded on 4 November 1998. The circulation of Prothom Alo grew from an initial circulation 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. From press facilities located in Dhaka, Chittagong and Bogra, around 5,00,000 copies (as of March ‘2014) are circulated each day. According to National Media Survey 2012, everyday 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. According to a brand equity study conducted by Quantum Consumer Solutions Limited, Prothom Alo is considered to be the most influential newspaper brand in Bangladesh.
The online portal of Prothom Alo (www.prothom-alo.com) is the number 1 Bangladeshi website 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 website 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 November 2015, 6.75 Million people are following this newspaper through Facebook. This is the biggest FB Fan page for any organization in Bangladesh. Prothom Alo's 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 of the Prothom Alo app for various digital and mobile platforms have been downloaded as of October 2013. 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.
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, A B M 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 campaign 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 the 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 FM 89.2: 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 five 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 colorful monthly magazine.
- Prothom Alo Jobs: Prothom Alo Jobs offers regular recruitment circular and solutions, corporate training services, and career counseling.
Prothom Alo is often criticized for its liberal attitude. A cartoon by Arifur Rahman was published in Alpin about a jokes partly related with religion, caused protests against the Newspaper. A subsequent order was given from the government to ban the supplement. The editor of the Prothom Alo acknowledged the gaffe. In a statement released by Prothom Alo, the editor of Alpin, Matiur Rahman, apologised, expressing regret for publishing the cartoon. The cartoonist was jailed for a month.
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 Rahman and his minor son Sheikh Russel. 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.