Myanmar freelance photographer Minzayar Oo attended the Rory Peck Awards in London on Monday 23rd October to receive the Martin Adler Prize 2017 which honours a local freelancer who has made a significant contribution to newsgathering.
At just 29 years old, Minzayar is one of Myanmar’s leading photographers - part of a new generation of local freelance journalists documenting the political, social and economic transition of their country, according to the Rory Peck website.
Minzayar is unique among his peers for the dedication he has shown in telling Myanmar’s important and difficult stories, notably his long-term commitment to covering the plight of the Rohingya - a story now top of the international news agenda.
He along with another Myanmar colleague were arrested in September by Bangladesh security agencies in Cox’s Bazar as they were reporting the flood of refugees from Rakhine State. However, they were allowed to return to Myanmar on October 17.
His long-term documentary project, The Price of Jade, exposes, for the first time, the horrific social impact of Myanmar’s secretive, multi-billion-dollar Jade industry in conflict-torn Kachin state and reveals the perilous lives of hundreds of thousands of young people who have migrated there to work as miners, hoping to find a shortcut to wealth.
Minzayar’s work has been published in TIME, The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, National Geographic, GEO, 6MOIS, La Republica and many other publications and has been exhibited in Myanmar and around the world, including photography festivals Rencontres d’Arles and Angkor Photo Festival.
Minzayar is the first photographer to receive the Martin Adler Prize.