Statement following discussions about World Press Photo of the Year 2013

The public response to this year’s World Press Photo of the Year - John Stanmeyer’s picture entitled “Signal” - has been overwhelmingly positive and we are proud to support this work of photojournalism. It truly captures the criteria of the award: an entry that “represents an event, situation or issue of great journalistic importance in that year, and demonstrates an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity.”

However, some have expressed concern over the possible conflict of interest in awarding the World Press Photo of the Year 2013 to John Stanmeyer given that Stanmeyer and general jury chair Gary Knight are two of the founding members of VII Photo Agency.

World Press Photo affirms that the two-week judging process culminating in the selection of Stanmeyer’s photo was conducted according to procedures established over a 57-year history that are specifically designed to ensure the integrity of the awards.

The four chairs and 15 jurors who participated in the process acted at all times with unquestionable integrity and deliberated in a way that ensured each entry was treated fairly and equally. We deeply regret that their professional reputations and conduct may have been called into question, and we stand with them to reject any accusations of impropriety.

The World Press Photo Contest voting structure is complex and robust. It is deliberately and specifically designed to ensure that singles and stories both build strong majority support and resist majority opposition in order to progress through the multiple rounds of judging. The anonymous and confidential voting process systematically prevents any individual juror from pushing a favored image, for whatever reason, against the majority view. In addition to the voting structure, we have specific requirements for checking and declaring interests to the whole jury. These procedures are similar to those found in other major photographic awards. If you’d like in-depth details about the voting and declaration process, please read the general jury secretary’s reflections on his blog:

Just as many respected film, literary, musical and theatre awards trust those from the highest levels of their respective industries, World Press Photo accepts that judging is a form of peer review and, in the relatively small but global professional photographic community, conflicts of interest may appear to occur. We are constantly exploring solutions for this issue. However, we believe this should neither hinder nor support any future entries.

World Press Photo has total confidence in its judging process and how it was applied this year. We trust absolutely in the integrity of our chairs and jurors and we honor the selections they have made.

Michiel Munneke
Managing Director
World Press Photo

Learn about the World Press Photo Contest, its history and the setup.