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Anonymous photographer scoops international award

9 September 20210 comments

A photographer from Myanmar, whose name has not been revealed to protect his safety, has won a major international photojournalism award for his coverage of his troubled nation’s pro-democracy protests and bloody military crackdown.

The photographer won the prestigious Visa d’Or for News, the top award at the ‘Visa Pour L’Image’ festival in Perpignan, south-western France.

Asian photo editor for The New York Times Mikko Takkunen collected the prize on photographer’s behalf.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power in February in a coup that has sparked almost-daily protests and a huge civil disobedience movement.

Mr Takkunen said the photographer dedicated the prize to his peers in his country who are working under extremely difficult conditions.

His photographs portray civilian protesters armed with stones, soldiers firing live bullets and grieving families mourning their dead.

Across Myanmar, more than a thousand civilians have been killed in the ongoing military crackdown, according to media reports.

The local press international have been targeted as the junta tries to tighten control of the flow of information, choking internet access and revoking the licenses of local media outlets.

The anonymous photographer said in a message that he was “on the streets every day since February 1”.

“I encountered many difficulties, working between bullet shots, tear gas and deafening grenades,” he said

“On the ground, we stopped working with helmets marked PRESS as we realised the soldiers were targeting photographers,” he said.

Among the others nominated was Greek photographer Angelos Tzortzinis, of AFP, for his work on the last days that migrants and asylum seekers spent at the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, which was cleared after devastating fires.

Also nominated was American Erin Schaff from The New York Times for photographs depicting the storming of the US Capitol in Washington.

Indian photographer Danish Siddiqui from Reuters was nominated for his work on the health crisis following the coronavirus pandemic in his country.

Siddiqui was killed in July while covering fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces.

‘Visa pour l’Image’ is an international photojournalism festival established in 1989, which takes place annually in the entire city of Perpignan, France.