Even though the accusations against this year's winners were eventually disproved, next year's rules will be more strict
Earlier this year, the the World Press Photo Awards winner was the target of a scandal, with widespread claims of the final image being overly manipulated. While an expert outside judge eventually ruled that it was within the bounds of the contest, next year's entrants into the competition are likely to face more stringent rules.
The 2013 winning photo by Paul Hansen of a funeral procession in Palestine was loudly accused of being "photoshopped". Due to the controversy, an expert was brought in, who ruled:
“When I compare the RAW file with the prizewinning version I can indeed see that there has been a fair amount of post-production, in the sense that some areas have been made lighter and others darker. But regarding the positions of each pixel, all of them are exactly in the same place in the JPEG (the prizewinning image) as they are in the RAW file. I would therefore rule out any question of a composite image.”
World Press Photo has now released the first round of information about the 2014 competition, and it looks as though the rules will be more stringent. The organization has named Gary Knight to chair the 2014 round, and states:
The 2014 Photo Contest edition will include a number of changes. Michiel Munneke, Managing Director, World Press Photo, explains: “There has been a lot of discussion and widespread speculation regarding the permissible levels in post-processing of image files in the contest. We have evaluated the contest rules and protocols and examined how to create more transparency, and we have changed the procedures for examining the files during the judging. We will announce further details when the 2014 Photo Contest opens for entries later this year, but the bottom line is that we will need to be able to rely on the integrity and professionalism of the participating photographers.”
So we won't know more about the specifics until the competition opens in December, but people considering entering would do well to keep a very close eye on the fine print. If an image can be brought under such scrutiny for dodging and burning, it'll be interesting to see what the new regulations will and won't allow.