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A major photojournalism award has gone to an anonymous Myanmar photographer

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A Myanmar photographer earned the top prize at photojournalism's biggest yearly festival on Saturday for his coverage of pro-democracy protests and a violent military crackdown in the unstable country.

The photographer, who requested anonymity for security reasons, won the Visa d'Or for News, the highest honour bestowed at the "Visa Pour L'Image" festival in Perpignan, southwestern France.

The prize was accepted on behalf of the photographer by Mikko Takkunen, the Asia picture editor for The New York Times.


Myanmar has been in shambles since the military seized control in a February 1 coup, with nearly daily protests and a massive civil disobedience movement.

"He is, without a doubt, the best photographer in the country.
He is overjoyed and honoured to have won this award "Takkunen explained.

According to Takkunen, the photographer dedicated the award to his colleagues in Finland who operate under incredibly challenging conditions.


His images show stone-throwing civilians, military firing live rounds, and distraught families mourning their loved ones.

According to an advocacy group, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in Myanmar as a result of the ongoing military crackdown.

As the junta strives to tighten control over the flow of information by limiting internet access and cancelling the licences of local media outlets, the press has been squeezed.


In a message, the unidentified photographer stated that he has been "on the streets every day since February 1."

"Working between bullets, tear gas, and deafening explosives presented several challenges."

"We stopped working with PRESS helmets on the ground because we realised the military were going after photographers," he said.

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