A picture shot by an Italian freelance photographer was selected the World Press Photo of the Year 2009 by an international panel of judges on February 12. Taken by Naples-born Pietro Masturzo, the winning picture depicts women shouting in protest from a rooftop in Tehran, last June 24, during Iran's presidential election.
The winning shot is part of a photo essay on the days of protest that followed the controversial election, when people shouted in dissent from rooftops and balconies by night and protested in the streets by day. The picture was awarded first prize in the category People in the News at the 53rd annual World Press Photo Contest.
The jury viewed a record number of photographs: 101,960 images submitted by 5,847 photographers from 128 different countries. According to juror Kate Edwards, Masturzo's photo ‘has a powerful sense of atmosphere, tension, fear-but also of quietness and calm, and in this sense was a challenge as a choice. We were looking for an image that drew you in, took you deeper, made you think more-not just about showing what we already know, but something that asks more of us.'
The announcement was made in early February, just days after a protest against Italy in Tehran threatened serious damage to the Italian Embassy there. According to the foreign ministry, some 100 Iranians threw stones and eggs at the building. Officials say these actions were in protest of Italy's decision to reduce trade and other economic ties with Iran because of the country's nuclear ambitions and its anti-Israel sentiment.