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World Press Photo cancels 2020 Photo Contest Award Show due to COVID-19

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The World Press Photo Foundation has announced it is canceling its 2020 Photo Contest awards show and festival, originally planned to take place in Amsterdam from April 16–18, due to COVID-19 (the coronavirus).

The decision comes after following the assessments of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and coming to the conclusion that World Press Photo ‘can not hold events where international guests are invited to join local participants in a mass gathering.’ Due to ‘on-going uncertainty about the scale of the COVID-19 virus,’ World Press Photo has decided to altogether cancel the event rather than postpone it until later in the year.

Despite the two events being cancelled, the show will go on. The winners of the 2020 Photo Contest and the 2020 Digital Storytelling Contest will still be announced on April 16, 2020, and shared online for the world to view. The nominees will also continue to be shown as part of World Press Photo’s worldwide exhibition tour, with the next exhibition set for a showing at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam on April 18, 2020.

World Press Photo Foundation cancels the Awards Show and Festival because of COVID-19

We have decided, after intense deliberations, that the global situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus, requires us to cancel the World Press Photo Awards Show 2020 and the World Press Photo Festival 2020, due to be held in Amsterdam on 16-18 April.

We are devastated that we will not be holding two of our major events that honor and showcase this year’s contest winners in person. Both events have become pivotal occasions for the visual journalism community to come together and we are all going to miss this moment.

We were well advanced with the planning for these events and to bring that to a stop is not an easy decision. Combined with the on-going uncertainty about the scale of the COVID-19 virus, this means it is not possible for us to postpone the events until later in the year.

However, the safety of our community, staff and society outweighs all other considerations.

We have been following the assessments of trustworthy sources such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and they report that in the coming weeks there is a moderate to high risk of more countries reporting more cases and clusters. ‘Social distancing’ is the way the risk of the COVID-19 virus is being managed, and we have concluded we can not hold events where international guests are invited to join local participants in a mass gathering.

The winners of the 2020 Photo Contest and the 2020 Digital Storytelling Contest – including the winner of the World Press Photo of the Year and the three other major awards – will be announced on the evening of 16 April 2020 (under embargo until 22:00 CET) and presented to our global audience through a wide range of online and media channels.

We will be working hard to give those winners the recognition they deserve. The nominees for those awards can be seen now at worldpressphoto.org, the worldwide exhibition tour continues, and we are also looking forward to finding new ways of fulfilling our mission: connecting the world to the stories that matter.

Important dates

  • 16 April 2020 22:00 CET: 2020 Contests winners announced
  • 18 April 2020: World Press Photo Exhibition 2020 starts its worldwide tour at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. See all confirmed exhibition locations at worldpressphoto.org/calendar. More locations are added regularly.

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