Toespraak van Prins Constantijn tijdens de uitreiking van de prijs voor de World Press Photo van het Jaar te Amsterdam

De toespraak is uitgesproken in het Engels. 

First of all I’d like to thank the jury for your inspiration and for  dedicating many days and nights to do justice to the incredible body of photographic work that was produced last year.

To all the laureates I want to confess that I’d love to have some of your passion, drive, and dedication. At a time when people are cynical and journalism is criticized, you continue to go out there to capture and report the stories the world needs to see and hear. From war zones, slums, pristine nature, homes, and desolate streets. With an intelligent eye for the angles and many layers of each of these stories. I often wonder where this drive comes from, and deeply admire you for it.

Maybe my role as patron of the World Press Photo Foundation made me more sensitive to the framing of journalism, but I find it deeply disturbing that - while many of you risk your lives for your reporting – journalism is put down as fake news, instead of celebrated as an essential voice in open democratic societies. This may motivate some of you to work even harder at depicting the truth, but it must hurt that the profession has become subject to opportunistic political gaming.

We all know there is not one truth. Thus anything you do can be challenged. But not your integrity. I have now participated in 11 such award sessions and one hardly finds a profession with such dedication and integrity. We, the people, or at least anyone that holds democracy and the rule of law dearly, owe you a tremendous debt.

For me, this is what World Press Photo is all about. Once a year the spotlight is turned on you – even though most of you prefer to hide behind your camera’s. Once a year we can say thank you! We pay tribute to those colleagues that fell or were wounded during their work. We share the images that portray and also shape our world as they become part of our collective memory. You help the world not to forget and the world will not forget you!

World Press Photo is more than a contest and a prize. It is an active community dedicated to visual journalism, storytelling and the freedom of expression. It is now evolving into a social enterprise that can do much more to support new talent across the globe. World Press Photo aims to be a frontrunner in developing norms about the ethics and professionalism of the profession, especially in the difficult MeTOO debate. It is also a publication platform for the best photographs through its yearly exhibition in more than 100 cities in over 45 countries, and an ever-growing online presence.

If the profession is to survive and retain its relevance, it has to change and adapt continuously to new technologies, media business models, new ways how news is consumed and produced, new standards of professionalism and the politics of polarization where there is no truth anymore, just opinion and suspicion. World Press Photo is there to support the profession, as it is going through that change. It aims to be at the forefront of these discussions and ensure the continued relevance of visual storytelling.

The World Press Photo Foundation is a global organization rooted in The Netherlands. We pride ourselves on being direct and open. Please be as blunt in your feedback to World Press Photo and your advice. Allow World Press Photo to be of support. Allow World Press Photo to stay relevant. With your stories, by coming here and sharing with peers. By keeping World Press Photo on its toes to serve you well. Thanks for having me – even though you didn’t have a choice ;-)

I am humbled in your presence.  Thanks for making me feel welcome among you. 

Hoort bij