World Press Photo to change contest rules following post-processing controversy

World Press Photo, who has selected VII Photo co-founder Gary Knight as chair of its 2014 contest, has announced a change of rules regarding "the permissible levels in post-processing of image files" submitted following this year's intense debate about manipulation in photojournalism

Olivier Laurent — 3 October 2013

Gary Knight. Image © Sophie Knight.

Earlier this year, World Press Photo was forced to re-evaluate the integrity of its winning image following false allegations of forgery leveraged against photographer Paul Hansen. While a panel of forensic analysts found that the image had not been digitally manipulated, it concluded that the image had gone through “a fair amount of post-production, in the sense that some areas [had] been made lighter and others darker,” wrote Eduard de Kam, a digital photography expert at the Dutch Institute for Digital Photography.

The allegations were at the centre of an intense debate about the increasing post-production practice in photojournalism, as discussed in a BJP article published last May.

Now, World Press Photo has confirmed that it will introduce new rules for its 2014 contest. “There has been a lot of discussion and widespread speculation regarding the permissible levels in post-processing of image files in the contest,” Michiel Munneke, World Press Photo’s managing director. “We have evaluated the contest rules and protocols and examined how to create more transparency, and we have changed the procedures for examining the files during the judging.”

He continues: “We will announce further details when the 2014 Photo Contest opens for entries later this year, but the bottom line is that we will need to be able to rely on the integrity and professionalism of the participating photographers.”

The contest will be calling for entries in December with a 15 January 2014 deadline. The winners will be selected by a jury chaired by VII Photo’s co-founder Gary Knight.

“The World Press Photo contest evolves every year as it seeks to adapt to the rapid changes in the media landscape,” says Knight in a press statement. “The very definition of what constitutes the press or what is a photograph has transformed since the Award was instituted. World Press Photo takes its role as the world’s most prestigious and multi-genre global photojournalism award very seriously and, as I look forward to chairing the jury again, there are new categories and a more diverse demographic of jurors to adapt to this changing topography.”

For more information, visit www.worldpressphoto.org.