“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
-United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19
Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) exists to advocate for the protection of the human, personal, and creative freedoms of editorial cartoonists around the world.
CRNI's network of over hundreds of editorial and social cartoonists from over 50 countries diligently monitors threats to editorial cartoonists and their families. Identifying threats to a cartoonist, CRNI facilitates the most appropriate campaign to raise awareness and generates public pressure to push back against these threats.
Cartoon by Nikahang "Nik" Kowsar, Nikahang.blogspot.com
By protecting the rights of editorial cartoonists, we protect every person who has a thought to express on paper, on canvas, or in a public square. Editorial cartoonists are frequently the first individuals to be silenced by extremists, thugs and tyrants. By protecting courageous cartoon journalists willing to speak their truth to power, we are in turn working to protect the free speech rights of every single one of us.
To date our efforts have directly impacted the freedom and well-being of hundreds of editorial cartoonists in nearly fifty countries from Africa to Asia, to Europe and North and South America.
CRNI is a nonpartisan organization. We do not take a position on the political opinions of cartoonists. We simply stand for the rights of an individual to have and to express opinions, and for your right to enjoy the artwork and message expressing those opinions. We offer our help to any endangered cartoonist as long as he or she does not advocate hate or violence.
CRNI collaborates with endangered cartoonists to mount public campaigns illustrating their jeopardy or persecution to the public at large, to diplomats, heads of state, ministries, and to other organizations that promote free expression;
CRNI strengthens the capacity of editorial cartoonists to inform the public about political and social issues; by keeping them working and protected despite the attacks of would be censors.
CRNI educates the public about the unique power of the editorial cartoon to communicate complex issues to broad audiences through workshops and public exhibits.
CRNI supports affiliate organizations around the world where restrictions on freedom of expression exist;
CRNI seeks to abolish state-sponsored, organized crime-sponsored, and politically-linked violence against journalists around the world.
CRNI maintains a comprehensive website with links to affiliates in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
CRNI provides financial support to cartoonists in extreme danger who have lost their income and social support networks.
CRNI publishes collections of cartoons that document the light of endangered editorial cartoonists.
CRNI coordinate advocacy and rescue campaigns with other human rights and free speech organizations.
CRNI develops and implements workshops on cartooning, free speech, legal rights, defensive lifestyle tips and organizing associations of cartoonists.
CRNI participates in letter writing campaigns to heads of state, ministries and legal authorities.
CRNI annually bestows between June and July the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning to a courageous cartoonist who has been targeted by enemies of free speech and expression.
CRNI maintains the Art to Die For Archive a traveling exhibit of editorial cartoons that have enraged the enemies of free speech. The Art to Die For Archive also details the personal stories behind the cartoons. This exhibit is available to present at galleries, colleges, and public spaces.
The CRNI Board of Directors includes editorial cartoonists, media academics, media professionals and dedicated citizens.
CRNI facilitates a network of over 200 editorial and social cartoonists throughout the world who are ready to assist in letter writing, emailing and free speech campaigns.
CRNI is one of two beneficiaries of an annual cartoon auction sponsored by Young D.C. The auction takes place annually on the third Thursday of October in Washington, D.C. Visit the Cartoons and Cocktails website for more information.
CRNI is a member of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX). We are also members of the Tunisia Monitoring Group which is sponsored and supported by members of IFEX.
Note: Again, the above cartoon is by Nikahang "Nik" Kowsar a former client of CRNI, a recipient of the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning, and, a current member of the CRNI Board of Directors. Nik spent four days being interrogated in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran for a cartoon critical of a politically powerful imam. CRNI, with the invaluable support of the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists, assisted Nik in his flight to safety in Canada. Five years later Nik was reunited with his wife and daughter.