Opening event of special exhibition with the European Parliament

European Parliament hosts World Press Photo Foundation ICONIC exhibition and ICONIC events 

  • The first of four ICONIC events with award-winning photojournalists begins on 22 September in the European Parliament
  • The ICONIC event series takes place alongside the exhibition: ICONIC - defending freedom and democracy since 1955
  • The free exhibition, presenting a selection of photographs that won the World Press Photo of the Year award from 1955 to 2022, runs until 13 January 2023

The photography exhibition, coupled with the event series, encourages audiences to reflect on the importance of press freedom in today’s media climate.

On 22 September, the European Parliament will launch a series of events under the ICONIC banner to complement the photo exhibition curated by The World Press Photo Foundation. These events feature guided tours, talks, and panel discussions around press freedom, freedom of expression, and safety for journalists.

The first event in this series explores one of the exhibition themes in detail: How does an iconic image contribute to defending democracy?

Two award-winning photojournalists, Pietro Masturzo and Jodi Bieber, will be present at this event. They will reflect on the exhibited work that has won them a Photo of the Year Award, and the importance of an independent press to democracies.

President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, said:

“Protecting and supporting journalists is at the heart of European democracy. Europe draws its strength from its democracy. And, we know that there can be no democracy without freedom of the press. This timely exhibition invites us to reflect on the importance of the fourth pillar of our Democracy.”

Joumana El Zein Khoury, Executive Director of World Press Photo Foundation, said:

“We are pleased to curate this special exhibition and to organise the ICONIC events for the European Parliament, presenting some of the most defining moments in our human history. We believe that by opening windows to different and diverse places and voices, we create deeper understanding and connections between people from around the world. We hope this exhibition will ignite conversations about our shared values, and visitors will join us in our mission to support the conditions needed to make democracy work."

Pietro Masturzo, 2010 Photo of the Year winner, said:

“As a photographer and especially as a European citizen, I am sincerely honoured to be part of this ICONIC exhibition, in a place so central and important in the fight for human rights and Inclusion.”

“Freedom of expression and the right to free information are the very basis of democracy. Photojournalism has the role and the responsibility of defending and fighting for these rights. I strongly believe that a good photograph can raise questions, awaken a person’s conscience, and lead to action in defence of universally recognised human rights.”

Mastruzo’s award-winning photo documented women shouting their dissent from a Tehran rooftop following Iran's disputed presidential elections, in 2009.

Jodi Bieber, 2011 Photo of the Year winner, said:

“I am specifically glad to participate in this ICONIC exhibition due to the significance of the space in Brussels itself, and because the general nature of imagery today is that it is consumed so quickly and forgotten equally fast due to social media.”

“This exhibition opens the space for viewers to engage with, and contemplate in their own time, these important historic moments. For me personally, as a woman, it is important to keep attention on the issue of violence against women. Photography can be used as a catalyst to promote change in policy, shift contrasting ideas, and even occasionally change someone’s life.” she added.

Bieber’s photo of Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman disfigured as retribution for fleeing her husband’s house in Uruzgan province, in the center of Afghanistan, asks us to reflect on the power of images and the whether or not who takes the photo matters.

Media interviews

Jodi Bieber and Pietro Mastruzo will be available for interviews on Thursday 22 September at the Info Hub. Requests can be sent to Janneke Rijpkema -, +31 (0)20 6766096

Practical information event:

  • When: Thursday 22 September 2022, 15:00 - 16:00
  • Where: Info Hub, European Parliament, Esplanade Solidarność 1980, behind Place du Luxembourg, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, next to SPINELLI building
  • Access: registration is recommended, as places are limited. Register here.

Opening Hours exhibition:

  • Monday - Friday: 9.00 – 18.00
  • Saturday - Sunday 10.00 – 18.00
  • Free entrance
  • Tours: exhibition material and daily ICONIC guided tours are available in French, Dutch, English, and German. Bookings are required for groups of 10+

Next ICONIC events:

  • Safety for journalists.
    Wednesday 26 October 2022, 11.00 - 13.30
    Register here
  • Media literacy and disinformation.
    Thursday 17 November 2022, 14:00-17:00
    Register here
  • In-depth interview with World Press Photo winner
    Thursday 12 January 2023, 17:00-18:00
    Registration TBC