Cartoonists Rights Network International fights to protect the human rights and the personal and creative freedom of editorial cartoonists around the world under threat, arrest, or intimidation because of the power and influence of their profession work.
CRNI's network of over 600 editorial and social cartoonists throughout the world monitors these threats to editorial cartoonists and their families. When threats do develop, CRNI and our network activate campaigns to raise awareness and public pressure that push back against these threats.
Cartoon by Nikahang "Nik" Kowsar, Nikahang.blogspot.com
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 America and South America.
Editorial cartoonists are frequently the first individuals to be silenced by extremists, thugs and tyrants. By protecting these brave cartoon journalists we are in turn protecting the free speech rights of every single one of us.
CRNI promotes freedom of expression as a basic human right guaranteed by Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948) which states that:
"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."
The UDHR is a promise by signatory nations to honor the free speech rights of every individual. CRNI exits to ensure that these rights - your rights - are never taken away.
CRNI is a nonpartisan organization. As such, we do not take a position on any cartoonist's political opinions. We simply stand for the rights of an individual to have and to express opinions, and for your right to enjoy the artwork expressing those opinions. We offer our help to any endangered cartoonist as long as he or she does not advocate hate or violence.
To accomplish our mission, CRNI:
Collaborates with imperiled cartoonists to mount campaigns explaining their jeopardy or persecution to diplomats, heads of state, ministries, other free expression organizations, civil society organizations and the public at large;
Strengthens the capacity of editorial cartoonists to inform the public about political and social issues;
Educates the public about the unique powers of editorial cartoonists to communicate complex issues to broad audiences;
Supports affiliate organizations around the world where restrictions on freedom of expression exist;
Seeks the elimination of state-sponsored, organized crime-sponsored and politically-linked violence against journalists.
CRNI publishes collections of cartoons that document our clients' plights.
CRNI annual bestows the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning to a brave cartoonist who has been targeted by the enemies of free speech.
CRNI maintains the Art to Die For Archive -- a traveling exhibit of the cartoons that have enraged the enemies of free speech. The Art to Die For Archive also details the stories behind the cartoons. If you would like information about holding an exhibit of this archive, contact the director.
CRNI maintains this website with links to affiliates in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
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 coordinate advocacy and rescue campaigns with other human rights and free speech organizations.
CRNI provides financial support to cartoonists in extreme danger who have lost their income and social support networks.
CRNI connects a network of over 600 editorial and social cartoonists throughout the world who are ready to assist in letter writing, emailing and free speech campaigns.
Members of the CRNI Board of Directors includes editorial cartoonists, media academics, media professionals and a past recipient of the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning.
CRNI is associated with the New York Foundation for the Arts and is a member of IFEX, the International Freedom of Expression eXchange. We are also members of the Tunisia Monitoring Group which is sponsored and supported by members of IFEX.
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.
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.