Screen shot from the World Press Photo website
FILIPINO PHOTOJOURNALIST Ezra Acayan won second prize in the World Press Photo Award for his photograph of a crime scene after an alleged drug personality was shot dead by unidentified gunmen during a wake in Quezon City in August 2018.
Acayans photograph shows a member of the police's Scene of the Crime Operatives viewing the casket as they worked on the case of an alleged victim of extrajudicial killing.
Thousands of suspected drug personalities have been killed since President Rodrigo Dutertes war on drugs began in June 2016. The governments #RealNumbersPH data as of November 30, 2018 said more than 5,000 drug personalities have been killed during anti-illegal drug operations. The exact death toll, however, is difficult to ascertain due to the governments failure to disclose official records on the bloody campaign.
Focusing on social issues and human rights, Acayans work includes documenting the experiences of communities that have been targeted in the Duterte regimes so-called drug war.
Acayans body of work has been recognized by various award-giving bodies. In 2017, he was awarded a special merit award at the Human Rights Press Awards for his multimedia reporting on the drug war. In 2018, he received the Ian Parry Scholarship Award for Achievement and the Lucie Foundation Photo Taken Emerging Scholarship. He was also named Young Photographer of the Year at the Istanbul Photo Awards in the same year. His photos, along with works by other photojournalists, have been exhibited in various venues in the United States, Europe and Asia.