The Look of Repression and Freedom | Freedom House

The Look of Repression and Freedom

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What do repression and freedom look like?

We asked photographers to show us, and received submissions from 20+ countries as part of our third annual photo contest. The winning photos were auctioned at a Freedom House event on April 10.

Photos of many of the finalists are below. To see a larger selection, visit our Flickr page.


WINNER:  “The Piano Player”

Photographer: Oleg Matsekh
A man engages in an act of nonviolent resistance by performing in front of riot police.


Second Place: "The Line"
Photographer: Goran Jovic
Children line up for their corn mash lunch at school.

Third Place:
“Genocide of Myanmar: Praying to be Heard”

Myanmar / Burma

Photographer: Matt Rains
Rohingya refugees pray in a makeshift mosque, built in an internally displaced persons camp in Myanmar. Some 800,000 Rohingya have been displaced by conflict.

Selections from Finalists:

"State of the Nation"

Photographer: Anonymous
A standoff between protesters and police in Nairobi after police banned a protest against a crackdown on free speech and assembly.


“Education after the Taliban”

Photographer: Anonymous
Since the fall of the Taliban, education has become more accessible to girls, especially among the persecuted Hazara population in Bamyan and Daikundi.

“We Need Freedom”

Photographer: Jonah M. Kessel
Xiao Qinshan, a freedom of speech activist from Shenzhen, shouts from his wheelchair in front of the Nanfang Media Group compound in Guangzhou, China. Protests over censorship took place after an editorial was censored by Communist Party officials.



Photographer: Arzu Geybullayeva
Police fire tear gas in unison at protesters on a side street near Taksim Square in Istanbul.



Photographer: Anonymous
Bahraini protesters carry a freed prisoner in the Pearl Roundabout of Manama City.

“Tahrir 2014: An Anniversary with a Bitter Taste”

Photographer: Vinciane Jacquet
On the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, soldiers, tanks, and barbed wire blocked entrances to Tahrir Square.


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Artist: Xavier Bonilla

“Smile…it’s only occupation”

Photographer: Fadi Arouri
A Palestinian protester smiles during his arrest by Israeli Border Police Forces after protesting near Beit El Israeli settlement.

Analyses and recommendations offered by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of Freedom House.

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