Winners of General News – Stories | World Press Photo 2020
A photojournalistic photograph’s intent is to inform and educate, and eventually, fuel the commencement of necessary reparations. Since 1955, the World Press Photo Awards has been an instrumental force in this arena, by bringing harrowing stories of terror, as well as those of hope and resilience. These stories scream vociferously of the world’s apathy against its citizens, that we need to do better. The foundation has announced the winners of the contest on its online channels on the 16th of April. Here is a look at the photographs from the 63rd edition of the awards.
First prize: Nicolas Asfouri, Denmark, Agence France-Presse
Hong Kong Unrest: Protests began in Hong Kong at the end of March in response to government proposals to amend existing legislation and allow extradition to mainland China. Anti-government demonstrations gathered momentum over the following weeks as pro-democracy groups united, with students playing a large role in protests and in human-chain rallies. On 12 June, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered around the Legislative Council building ahead of a debate on the extradition laws, and met with violent opposition from police. Protests continued to escalate, both in frequency and size, as did police countermeasures. The authorities banned the wearing of face masks, and at a demonstration on 1 October, the day marking the 70th anniversary of the declaration of the People’s Republic of China, police fired live ammunition at protesters for the first time. After initially proposing postponements and amendments to legislation, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam eventually announced that she would withdraw the bill. This was done on 23 October, but protesters’ demands had broadened to include implementation of genuine universal suffrage and release of arrested protestors, and unrest continued into 2020.
Second prize: Fabio Bucciarelli, Italy, for L’Espresso
Chile: The Rebellion Against Neoliberalism: In the most extensive civil unrest in Chile’s recent history, people rose throughout the year in protest against economic inequality. Despite being one of the region’s most prosperous nations, Chile is the most unequal country in the OECD group of nations, according to a United Nations report. Just 1% of its population controls 33% of its wealth. The trigger for the unrest was an increase in subway fares instigated by President Sebastián Piñera on 18 October. A peaceful rally in the capital Santiago sparked further protests leading to a nationwide uprising. Demands grew to include comprehensive economic reform and the replacement of the constitution, which was drawn up during the reign of Augusto Pinochet in the 1980s and which created a legal basis for a market-driven economy and privatized pensions, health and education. Demonstrations grew in size—the largest comprising more than one million people on 25 October—and became increasingly violent. According to Human Rights Watch, the authorities used excessive force against demonstrators, including pellet shotguns that caused numerous eye injuries, and were accused of abuse, including rape, of people in detention. Women played a prominent role in the demonstrations, particularly after reports of human-rights and sexual offences against female protesters by security forces. On 15 November President Piñera announced a referendum on a new constitution to be held in 2020, but unrest continued with demands for an inquiry into human rights violations during the protests and an immediate overhaul of the pension, health and education systems.
Third prize: Ivor Prickett, Ireland, for The New York Times
ISIS and its Aftermath in Syria: By early 2019, the territory held by the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria had reduced to a four-square-kilometer patch in the southeast, centered on the village of Baghuz. The IS retreat from northern Syria took place under the onslaught of the combined militias of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and supported by an international coalition of primarily US troops. As IS drew back, tens of thousands of people emerged from the enclave, many of them the wives and children of foreign IS fighters. Numerous IS fighters themselves surrendered or were captured. The Kurds were left with the conundrum of what to do with so many prisoners, many of them under 18 and orphaned or separated from their families. Then, at the beginning of October, US president Donald Trump ordered US troops out of northern Syria. On 9 October, Turkey—which regarded Kurdish forces on its border as a security threat, given the decades-long Kurdish insurgency against Turkey—invaded northern Syria, aiming to end Kurdish control over the territory. As Kurdish forces refocused their attention on a new opponent, the fate of the many thousands of prisoners grew even more uncertain.Tags: Contemporary, Contest, General news, issues, News, Photo Essay, photojournalism, Photojournalists, series, winners, World Press Photo, World Press Photo Awards