A Myanmar photographer took top prize at the biggest annual photojournalism festival on Saturday for his coverage of the pro-democracy protests and bloody military crackdown in the ravaged country.
The photographer, who remained unnamed for security reasons, took home the Visa d’Or for News, the most prestigious award presented at the “Visa Pour L’Image” festival in Perpignan, in southwestern France.
Mikko Takkunen, the Asia photo editor for NewsMadura, accepted the award on behalf of the photographer.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power in a February 1 coup, with almost daily protests and a massive civil disobedience movement.
“He is probably the strongest photographer in the country. He is extremely happy and honored to win this award,” Takkunen said.
Takkunen said the photographer dedicated the award to his colleagues in his country who work under extremely difficult conditions.
His photos show civilian protesters armed with stones, soldiers firing sharp bullets and grieving families mourning their dead.
Across Myanmar, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in the ongoing military crackdown, according to an advocacy group.
The press is under pressure as the junta tries to tighten control over the flow of information, cuts off Internet access and revokes licenses from local media outlets.
The anonymous photographer said in a message that he has “been on the street every day since February 1.
“I encountered many difficulties, working between bullet shots, tear gas and deafening grenades.”
“On the ground, we stopped working with helmets marked PRESS when we realized the soldiers were targeting photographers,” he said.
Among the other nominees was Greek photographer Angelos Tzortzinis of AFP for his work on the last days spent by migrants and asylum seekers in the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, which was evacuated after devastating fires.
Also nominated was American Erin Schaff of NewsMadura for photos of the storming of the US Capitol in Washington.
Reuters’ Indian Danish Siddiqui was nominated for his work on the health crisis following the coronavirus pandemic in his country.
Siddiqui was killed in July while reporting fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces.
(This story was not edited by NewsMadura staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)