World Press Photo has closed its 2011 World Press Photo exhibition in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday, ten days in advance of the official closing date. The presence of prizewinning work by an Israeli photojournalist in the exhibition had sparked protests locally, and the Beirut exhibition organisers felt they could no longer guarantee the safety of the visitors or the exhibit itself, if the pictures remained on display. World Press Photo does not accept that any photographs are removed from the presentation, and the decision was made to dismantle and close the entire exhibition.
The exhibition showcasing the prizewinning images in the 2011 World Press Photo contest had opened in Beirut on 12 May in the presence of hundreds of guests, including many local photographers and media, and was due to run until 1 June. The presentation includes a series of photographs by Israeli photojournalist Amit Sha’al of street scenes in current-day Israel, juxtaposed with historic photographs of the same location. The series was awarded 3rd prize in the Arts and Entertainment category.