Statement on a forced change to the 2017 Photo Contest general jury

Statement by Lars Boering, Managing Director, World Press Photo Foundation and Oswald Schwirtz, Chair of the Supervisory Board, World Press Photo Foundation:

The World Press Photo Foundation is committed to developing and promoting quality visual journalism because people deserve to see their world and express themselves freely. We strive for equality and diversity in everything we do. We know there is always much more to be done, but there is one basic principle: we do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of age, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion, or sexual orientation. We oppose discrimination and harassment in our community and our world.

Yesterday we learnt that one of the esteemed judges we had selected to be part of the 2017 Photo Contest general jury is unable to travel to Amsterdam from the United States because of the U.S. government’s executive order restricting the rights of individuals from select countries.

Eman Mohammed has been advised that, as a Palestinian, the confusion surrounding the U.S. government’s executive order means she risks being unable to return to her family if she comes to Amsterdam. Eman revealed her situation in a Facebook post yesterday. Lars Boering has spoken at length with Eman and posted his own response.

The World Press Photo Foundation stands with Eman and will do nothing to jeopardise her family. We joined with her lawyer and advised her not to travel. We are angered and saddened that bigotry has prevented this talented member of the photojournalism community from joining us this week. Eman has worked with us before, and she will work with us again.

Stuart Franklin, the Chair of the 2017 Photo Contest general jury, said:

"Freedom to participate in international juries and conferences is a basic human right. I find it distressing that the risk of not being able to return home means Eman is being effectively denied the right to join our jury. Where will this end if we don’t take a stand against injustice now?"

Eman’s place on the general jury will now be occupied by an equally talented photographer, Tanya Habjouqa. We are looking forward to the selection the general jury makes in the coming next week. We will be working throughout the coming year promoting the work they award to open the eyes of the world to injustice and the importance of freedom. We have written to the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands to express our serious concern at the situation which has prevented Eman coming to Amsterdam.

Posted January 29 2017

About The World Press Photo Foundation

We are a global platform connecting professionals and audiences through trustworthy visual journalism and storytelling. Founded in 1955 when a group of Dutch photographers organized a contest to share their work with an international audience, the competition has grown into the world’s most prestigious photography award and our mission has expanded. We encourage diverse accounts of the world that present stories with different perspectives. We exhibit those stories to a worldwide audience, educate the profession and the public on their making, and encourage debate on their meaning.

The World Press Photo Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We receive support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and are sponsored worldwide by Canon.