Telegraph photographer Simon Townsley has been named Photo Journalist of the Year at the Society of Editors’ Media Freedom Awards (MFA).

Judges described Townsley – who works for the Global Health Security desk – as “a photographer that takes us to the edge and portrays stories of some of the world’s most desperate people. His image of sewer workers in India is an outstanding photograph that lives long in the memory”.

He was not the only Telegraph winner at the MFAs. As well as Photo Journalist of the Year, the Telegraph was named National News Media Organisation of the Year and its Lockdown Files expose won Investigation of the Year.

It was also highly commended in the Journalist of the Year and Innovation of the Year categories.

Townsley said after the event: “The Society of Editors Photojournalist of the Year award is not only an honour for me but a recognition of the important work that the Global Health Security team undertakes. At a time when we are seeing the rise of AI-generated images, it has never been more important to send writers and photographers into the field to witness and report on global events.

“I often find myself working in hostile environments under control of aggressive authorities who would rather we didn’t share the things that are occurring under their governments. Winning the Media Freedom Awards is a recognition of that. I am very proud of the work that we do in reflecting global health security issues that affect us all, wherever we are.”

Below are the images submitted to the Society of Editors – and some words from Townsley on how he captured them.

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