An Italian photographer has won the World Press Photo 2009 title, it has been announced today.

The World Press Photo of the Year was captured by photographer Pietro Masturzo, in Tehran last June.

The image depicts the aftermath of Iran’s contested presidential election.

‘The winning photograph is part of a story depicting the nights following the election… when people shouted their dissent from roofs and balconies, after daytime protests in the streets,’ said organisers of the 53rd World Press Photo contest.

Masturzo’s image triumphed in the People in the News category.

Chair of the judging panel Ayperi Karabuda Ecer added: ‘The photo shows the beginning of something, the beginning of a huge story. It adds perspectives to the news. It touches you both visually and emotionally, and my heart went out to it immediately.’

As we revealed last year, digital manipulation of images was set to be more strictly policed by judges for the 2009 competition.

Photographers were – for the first time – required to submit the ‘raw’ image file if the judging panel suspects that a ‘news’ photo has been digitally manipulated, said Maarten Koets, deputy managing director at World Press Photo.

Koets said the move came as news ‘wire’ services tighten up their criteria for publishing such pictures.

This year’s category winners included three UK photographers.

Gareth Copley came first in Sports Action Singles; Laura Pannack took top prize in Portraits Singles; and Charles Ommanney won the People in the News Stories.

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World Press Photo to be more strictly policed

World Press Photo 2009 winner

Picture credit: Pietro Masturzo