Photojournalism is a visual gangster

Event: World Press Photo Foundation: Photojournalism #Whataboutkuching 2018

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The event was hosted by Laurens Korteweg. We had a brief introduction about World Press Photo Foundation.

World Press Photo is trying to showcase stories that make people stop, feel, think and act. It celebrates the freedom of press and why it is important to any society.

Why do i say that photojournalism is a visual gangster? Because most of these photos which won the Photo of Year Awards, are photos that governments, politicians and others want to hide and conceal. By the virtue of freedom of press, it is shown to the world and each photos create a ripple effect throughout the world.

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A true democracy believes in freedom of press

Every year World Press holds a photo contest where they chose a photo of the year out of thousands submitted photos from all around the world.

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One of the photo of the year 1972 was well known through about the world. A photo is really worth a thousand words. The photo depicts a vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. Her clothes were burnt off from the attack. Kim Phúc stayed in hospital for 14-months.

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During the talk, the speaker showed us this photo and asked the audience where Malaysia placed in the Freedom of press index. We are placed 145 out of 180. Nothing to be proud of there. If we look closely at the red shade of Malaysia, we are considered to be in difficult situation for freedom of press.

Someone in audience did bring up a question that controlled press may be a more suitable solution to immature societies. That total freedom of press create move havoc than good. That we are not as developed nor as advanced as countries in the west. It was refuted that freedom of press can help expose the society to more information, in the process bring the society to be on par with the rest of the world.

The speaker mentioned that on the norm, photo journalist do not get paid very well. A photo for New York Times front page will only gather about Euro 200 dollars, not a high payment for something that takes years perfecting, not to mention the dangers of being in those situations.

Another dilemma was should one take a photo when it was another human being suffering. As shown in the photo below.

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Photo of the year 1985: Girl in Columbia trapped in a landslide. With legs trapped, she was in the water for 70 hours before passing away.

As almost everyone has a smartphone these days, the golden age of free press has arrived. However, the speaker mentioned that in the last few years, the level of freedom of press has been dwindling.

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Many countries are taking steps to control the press, leading the way is United States.
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Here are some of the quotes from the leaders of the World.

After the talk was done, we moved on to the exhibition area for the World Press Photos. It was out in the Padang Merdeka.

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Under the open sky, these photos look even more amazing. Be warned though, some of these photos are explicit, some have nudity and even extreme violence. Do take care if you want to bring young children along.

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It is easily accessible to the public. Just parked your car inside the Plaza Merdeka, go out from the main entrance of the mall and you will be able to see the collections of the World Press Photos displayed on the field. It is a rewarding experience

We are grateful that World Press would chose to come to Kuching to display its works to the public. The talk ended with a wish for Malaysia to continue its climb in the Freedom of Press Index. Everyone is hopeful that with the change in government in May 9, there will be improvements.

As a Sarawakian who lives and breathes here, Dum Spiro Spero. While i breathe, i hope.

Written by

Sarawak Blogger

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