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Daniel Morel reacts to World Press Photo win

© Daniel Morel/Photomorel, courtesy of the photographer.

Freelance photographer Daniel Morel, who has found himself in the middle of a legal fight after his images of last year's Haiti earthquake were distributed by Agence France Presse without authorisation, won two World Press Photo awards

Daniel Morel has received First Prize in the Spot News Stories category, as well as Second Prize in the Spot News Singles for his iconic images of the Haiti earthquake – the same images that appeared, more than one year ago, on Agence France Presse’s feed without authorisation and are now at the centre of an intense legal fight with Agence France Presse, Getty Images and other parties.

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Speaking to BJP, Morel says: “My thoughts go to Haiti and all the victims of the earthquake and their families. It is a great honor to have received this recognition from my peers.”

He adds: “Our role is important as independent photojournalist to tell the story as it is. I was there to document accurately this tremendous tragedy for future generations.”

Aidan Sullivan, vice president of photo assignments for Getty Images and a member of this year’s World Press Photo jury, also praised the images. “They are very fine images,” he told BJP on Friday 11 February. “Legally, I couldn’t comment more – I judged the images put in front of me, not how they got there.”

Juror Ruth Eichorn of Geo Magazine added that while Morel’s images weren’t visually sophisticated, but they were worthy news winners because they got to the heart of a huge news story.

Morel’s World Press Photo’s recognition comes a year after the photographer started a legal fight against Agence France Presse, Getty Images and other parties such as CBS, CNN and ABC, for using, without authorisation his Haiti images.