Protests over Israeli photojournalist close exhibition

The World Press Photo exhibition in Beirut was forced to close ten days early on Friday after protests because it included the work of Israeli photojournalist Amit Sha’al.

According to the organisers there have been protests at the exhibition leading to fears for the safety of visitors.

Sha’al was awarded third prize in the arts and entertainment category for his presentation of street photography in Israel, past and present, in the prestigious annual competition for professional photojournalists.

The organisers decided to close the whole exhibition, rather than just remove Sha’al’s work.

Managing director Michiel Munneke said: “The integrity of our exhibition was at stake. Removing any prize-winning photo would come down to censorship, which for us is not acceptable.

‘In this instance, closing the exhibition was the only way we could remain true to our principle of promoting Freedom of Information. We regret that we had no other choice and we hope that we will be able to bring our exhibition back to Lebanon soon again.”

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