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Hong Kong protest images taken down from Sony World Photography Awards website

A series of shots competing for the 2020 edition of the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards have been taken down from the official website because of their “sensitive nature.” 

The finalists are still in the running for a prize, but the photos are no longer available on the original site.

Note: the article has been updated

The organizers, or the World Photography Organization (WPO), have removed the series of shots by photographer Ko Chung-ming titled ‘Wounds of Hong Kong‘ from the competition’s official website. 

The series which features ten images showing the wounds and scars of pro-democracy protesters was one of the finalists in the Documentary category.

The photographer on Friday had noticed that the link on the competition’s official website was not working.


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He tried to contact the organization fearing a hacker attack but found that other series of images depicting the protests in Hong Kong had also been removed, namely David Butow‘s ‘Hong Kong Battleground‘ series and, and ‘Hong Kong Protesters‘ by Australian photographer Adam Ferguson.

In an initial response, the organization had said that the images had been removed due to their sensitive nature:

“A concern was raised about the sensitive nature of some of the images in the series which we must take into consideration. We have temporarily taken down the images as part of a standard process which we have put in place for these type of cases until we are able to review everything in further detail.”

The organization later reported that the finalists would not be changed and the results will be announced on April 17th.

Featured image by Ko Chung-ming : First-aider Ah Yan (alias), was hit by a tear gas canister while on duty in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, on 2 November 2019. The attack resulted in third-degree burns. His fingers were also burnt when he tried to remove the canister, which landed between his back and backpack. Following a four-hour skin graft, he now has to dress the wound every day, causing him enormous pain. Ah Yan has been abandoned by his pro-government family after the injury, and is now living in a school dormitory.


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