Statement on restricting access to the World Press Photo Exhibition 2023 in Budapest

Important topics should not be discouraged

We encourage everyone to first take a moment to view the winning photos by Hannah Reyes Morales.

Promoting an accurate and thoughtful understanding of our shared world is the primary value of a photo exhibition or museum. So we want to share our great disappointment and concern regarding the Hungarian Government’s decision.

The photos objected to by the Hungarian Government form part of the winning story “Home for the Golden Gays,” a project by Hannah Reyes Morales. This story was selected from over 60,000 entries (still images and multimedia) submitted by 3,752 entrants from 127 countries in the 2023 World Press Photo Contest. Six independent regional juries considered every entry before a global jury selected the winning stories and honorable mentions.

Access to this story should not be restricted. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right in the European Union, and should also be respected around the world. Unfortunately, starting on 28 October the government stated that access to the exhibition by anyone under 18 was not allowed due to the inclusion of this story.
The “Home for the Golden Gays” photo story displays a thoughtful and honest record of the lives of a community of elderly LGBTQI+ people in the Philippines, with the purpose of helping its audience better understand the lives of the people involved.

As the independent 2023 World Press Photo Contest global jury noted, “The project is well executed, beautifully photographed, and successfully centers the community's demonstrations of trust and resilience, instead of indulging in despair.”

The large number of people attending the exhibition in Budapest testifies to the fact that Hungarian citizens want to be informed, that they are keen to see quality press and documentary photography, and that they are open to witnessing meaningful photos on a diverse range of themes and topics.

The World Press Photo Exhibition 2023 is showing in places as diverse as Rome, Amsterdam, Vienna, Kyiv, Krakow, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Sydney, Mexico City, and Montréal. We are very pleased it is also shown in Budapest, and certainly hope and expect it will return next year. 

Image credit: Hannah Reyes Morales, for The New York Times