The Amsterdam-based World Press Photo Foundation says it is following up with local partner Casa de Portugal em Macau (CPM) to find out why the World Press Photo Exhibition unexpectedly closed this month.
“Our collaboration with the Association Casa de Portugal Macau has always been a positive one,” the World Press Photo Foundation said to Macau Daily Times. “At this point, we are unable to confirm the reasons why the exhibition was closed earlier, and we are following up with our exhibition partner to clarify what happened.”
As reported yesterday by Macau Daily Times, the exhibition has been closed since 1 October, just a few days after it was inaugurated at the Casa Garden venue. CPM said that the exhibition was closed for “management reasons,” but would not elaborate.
This year’s exhibition is considered controversial by some because one of the stories and nominees for World Press Photo Story of the Year portrays the social unrest in Hong Kong during the anti-government protests of last year.
CPM has denied that the decision is linked to the controversial Hong Kong photograph.
The Macau Portuguese and English Press Association (AIPIM) issued a statement to say it “regrets the premature closure of the World Press Photo Exhibition for reasons yet to be clarified.”
“If the premature shutdown of the exhibition is a result of pressure related to some photographs on display, then we consider it to be a serious and worrying incident that signals an erosion of freedom of expression,” added AIPIM in the statement.
Asked about the conditions of hosting the prestigious exhibition, the World Press Photo Foundation said that the project should basically be consistent worldwide.
“All the prize-winning photographs in the single categories are displayed, and a selection of images is made for the all awarded stories,” it said. “The content of the annual World Press Photo Exhibition is the same for all locations.”
The Casa Garden venue managed by CPM is the only site in Chinese territory to host the exhibition this year. The local organiser has hosted the exhibition annually since 2008 but has expressed concern about hosting the event in future because of cost issues.