The International Press Institute (IPI) today joined the Austrian publishing house Lammerhuber in warmly congratulating Swedish-Nigerian photographer Cletus Nelson Nwadike as the winner of the 2017 Alfred Fried Photography Award for peace photography.

This year’s winners of the international award were named on Thursday at a ceremony held by Austria’s Parliament.

Named for Austrian pacifist, author and 1911 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Alfred Hermann Fried, the Alfred Fried Photography Award recognises the year’s best photograph signifying the theme of peace. The award, which carries a €10,000 prize, is intended to draw attention to those images in order “to remind us that peace is a top priority for felicitous coexistence”.

Cletus Nelson Nwadike, who settled in Sweden after leaving his home country of Nigeria, where a civil war that left some two million people dead was raging, won the main prize with his photo essay “Peace is the greatest thing!” celebrating the liberation from violence and the joy of living in peace.

U.S. photographer Jonathan Bachman won the award for single entry photo of the year for his picture of a woman peacefully demonstrating at an anti-racist rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Twelve-year-old Lina Momsen from Hamburg won the prize for best peace picture in the category of children and youth for a photo symbolising the importance of friendship.

IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi, speaking at the ceremony, highlighted the dangers that journalists, photojournalists and videographers face. Noting that at least 108 journalists had lost their lives over the preceding year, many under circumstances that suggested their deaths were linked to their work, she commented:

“As journalists are increasingly killed and imprisoned around the world, and as ‘fake news’ and other malicious efforts to deceive audiences and undermine democracy proliferate, giving people accurate information on their world, showing them not only conflict and strife and destruction, but also efforts to rise above that, has perhaps never been more important than today.”

Trionfi also cited the impact of an increasing number of journalists behind bars around the world, including some 172 in Turkey alone.

“Like many today in Turkey, these journalists are arbitrarily detained for lengthy periods on flimsy accusations, without conviction or sometimes even trial, amid ebbing hopes that they will ever receive due process,” she said.

Delivering a keynote address, Liv Tørres, director of the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, recalled the award’s namesake and noted that peace is harder to win than war. Tørres said this fact was why measures of peace-building should be discussed in a dialogue in which photography also plays an important role, adding that photography was an international language that can “touch souls”.

The award jury recognised three additional photographers: Zongren Xing from China for “Alive happily, alive strongly”, Carla Kogelman of the Netherlands for “New sisters” and French photographer Yoann Cimier of Tunisia for “Nomad’s land”. All were presented with the Alfred Fried Photography Award Medal.

The award was established in 2013 by the Österreichische Photographische Gesellschaft and the Austrian publishing house Lammerhuber. It is given annually in partnership with IPI, UNESCO, the Austrian Parliament and the Austrian Parliamentary Reporting Association.

This year, organisers received 5,856 submissions containing 19,107 images from 165 countries.