UN Goodwill Ambassador honoured for chronicling struggle against illegal drugs

18 May 2007

An Italian photojournalist who brings the work of the United Nations anti-drug unit before the public has been awarded a prestigious German publishing prize for a feature on the global struggle against illicit narcotics.

An Italian photojournalist who brings the work of the United Nations anti-drug unit before the public has been awarded a prestigious German publishing prize for a feature on the global struggle against illicit narcotics.

Alessandro Scotti Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), captured the Henri Nannen Prize for his feature Weltmacht Drogen (Drugs, the global power) feature published in the German magazine GEO.

The prize is awarded annually by Gruner + Jahr, publishers of Stern magazine. Mr. Scotti's powerful black and white images, which won the award in the Best Photographic Achievement section, chronicle the battle against the narcotics industry in Iran, Afghanistan, Latin America and Central Asia, UNODC said in a news release.

“Scotti's talent has transformed the tragic plight of a few into a global campaign against narco-trafficking,” UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said. “He shows us the face of addiction, exploitation, and physical suffering, and challenges us to respond.”

In its citation, the jury said that in documenting the drugs trade for more than five years, Scotti had succeeded in bringing his reportage vividly to life. “The photographer gets so close to the action that the viewer can sense the great demands his reporting is making on him.”

Mr. Scotti, one of 10 prizewinners selected from 863 submissions from 188 German-language publications, has worked as a professional photographer and writer for 10 years. Since 2005, he has travelled extensively in Afghanistan, Colombia, Iran, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand to represent UNODC.

He is presently completing a trilogy of books for UNODC documenting the global drugs trade. Entitled De Narcoticis, the series explores all aspects of the narcotics trade, including cultivation, trafficking, prevention and addiction.

Mr. Scotti's haunting images help the public to understand the complexity of the drug problem, UNODC said.

 

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