Cartoonists Rights Network International is proud to announce our first international cartoon contest.
Cartoonists Rights Network International is proud to announce our first international cartoon contest.
Photograph credited to Arabcartoon.net
The situation regarding Palestinian cartoonist. Majda Shaheen, is of concern to CRNI, following the issue of death threats, and a campaign, against her, in connection with a cartoon the cartoonist published on her Facebook page.
Photograph credited to www.prisaediciones.com
On December 26, 2013 in Quito, Ecuador, twelve policemen entered the home of Fernando Villavicencia. As the parliamentary advisor of the opposition to Rafael Correa’s regime, he was searched and accused of alleged espionage against President Correa and other state officials.
When the topic is impactful cartoon technology nowadays you're likely to figure the discussion's about computer animation -- the engine under the hood of the multibillion-dollar video game industry and the mojo behind plenty of motion picture blockbusters. For Leif Packalen, though, the effective cartoon tech that can change lives consists of two pieces of A4-size (8.3" X 11.7") paper and a photocopy machine.
On November 1, Malaysian cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) received a decision from the courts concerning his challenge to an earlier ruling that had upheld his arrest on charges of sedition. This case began in September 2010, when Zunar was arrested even before the cartoon book that was the center of the controversy had been released to the public. No one, either in the judiciary, or the police could later confirmed that they had seen any of the cartoons in the book. What follows here are Zunar's own words and a link to his website with his whole story.
On a recent trip to Singapore, CRNI annual award winner Malaysian cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) met with and interviewed Singaporean cartoonist Leslie Chew. According to an August 6 article in the Wall Street Journal, "Mr. Chew had been under police investigation since April for potential wrongdoing in several cartoons he drew for his Facebook comic strip, titled “Demon-cratic Singapore,” which he describes as a “totally fictional comic.” The strip has over 27,400 followers on Facebook."
On July 31, 2013 Cartoonists Rights Network International conducted an interview with cartoonist Jonathan Guyer, an Associate Editor for the Cairo Review of Global Affairs. He has recently been working with the Fulbright scholarship program and has been based in the Middle East.
If you have enjoyed reading our articles about cartoonists in danger, if our stories aided your research, we ask you to please consider a donation to CRNI. We want to continue to bring to the world’s attention the plight of these fine cartoonists and the stories their fight for free speech everywhere in the world.
An ed-page cartoonist doing an ed-page cartoon about what it's like to be an ed-page cartoonist right now -- relying of that Big Book of Cartoon Tropes -- might draw a figure at the crossroads with signposts reading "Oblivion" pointing one way and "Worse" pointing the other. While a web cartoonist, doing their cartoon for Internet, print, t-shirt, coffe mug -- along with signed Giclée prints thereof and the original art just a paypal click away -- would add a third signpost, this one pointing up and labeled "Independence." And, yes, they'd both be awful cartoons, but still make their points.
Internationally renowned Syrian artist and cartoonist Youssef Abdelke has been arrested by Syrian security forces last week in the port city of Tartus. Abdelke’s friends and family along with intellectuals and artists around the world have joined a Facebook campaign calling for his release. Abdelke along with many other Syrian artists and academics had recently signed a petition asking for a peaceful political solution for the conflict and the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.
This year's Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning was award to Akram Raslan. The award was presented at a ceremony at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah USA on June 29, 2013.
Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba'aneh has been released after five months in Israeli prison. On April 4, Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba'aneh was sentenced by a military court in Salem to five months in prison and a fine of 10,000 shekels for 'contact with a hostile organization'.read more
When it comes to animating political cartoons, no one has done it more precociously than Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher. He has teamed with legendary animator Richard Williams to bring British parliamentarians to life -- and afterlife -- in an award-winning ad that would have Gillray cheering. He's produced animated bits for PBS, ABC and CNN; donned a bulb-studded action-capture suit to play both sides of a Clinton/Obama debate. And -- back in the bulb-suit in a Pygmalion-like act of artistic bravado -- taken a George Bush caricature on stage to banter live with Second City actors.
Further to our continuing stories about missing Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan, it was reported by a reliable source that Mr. Raslan's trial for sedition due to begin on June 3, 2013 has been indefinitely postponed.
On June 7, 2013 the Daily Mirror, published in Colombo, Sri Lanka, reported that a member of Parliament, Arundhika Fernando, claimed to have met with missing journalist and cartoonist Pageeth Eknaligoda on a recent trip to France. Prageeth disappeared on the night of January 24th 2010. He was an employee of the Lanka-e-News website.
May 27, 2013
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Burke, Virginia USA
Mr. Joel Pett, President of the Board of Directors of the Cartoonists Rights Network International announces that the recipient of the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning for 2013 is Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan.
Disappeared Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan soon to be put on trial.
About five months ago Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan disappeared in Damascus and was reportedly being held incommunicado by the Bashir al-Assad government. He had been drawing for the Al-Fida (or Fedaa) newspaper in the city of Hama when he was grabbed. Now. he is about to be put on trial.read more
Thomas Nast Award winner donates to CRNI
Normally, we reserve this space for news about cartoonists who are in trouble because of their cartoons. However, we think our readers should know that recently, American cartoonist Rob Rogers (who draws for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), after winning the annual Foreign Correspondents Thomas Nast Award, donated his prize money to the Cartoonists Rights Network International.
If what you want is to publish something luggable that can hold down a coffee table, get gift-wrapped, and be dog-eared in libraries by aspirants and acolytes, you might decide to follow the example of reknown cartoonist Kevin "KAL" Kallaugher and crowd-source a bankroll on Kickstarter to get the presses rolling and bookbinders binding. It would help, of course, to precede that indie pitch with three decades of stellar cartooning at a publication comparable to The Economist. For cartoonists who prefer skipping the decades and don't mind existing on smartphones and tablets in lieu of bookshelves, there's another way.read more
On Friday April 12th, despite the gloomy weather report and early morning showers, the skies cleared and Amnesty International's Get on the Bus 2013 for Washington, D.C. went ahead as planned with a small but very enthusiastic group of human rights activists. One of those activists was editorial cartoonist and Somali refugee Abdul Arts. Invited by Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), Abdul traveled from Skien, Norway, an international city of refuge. His trip to participate in AIUSA's annual day of human rights education and activism was sponsored by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), the Stewart R. Mott Foundation and the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI).read more
On Friday, April 12th Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) will hold its Get on the Bus rally, an annual day of human rights education and activism organized by several AIUSA groups. In Washington, DC, more than 100 students, teachers and AIUSA activists will rally for human rights in front of embassies and in public spaces. This year the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) and editorial cartoonist and Somali refugee Abdul Arts — with support from the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) — will join AIUSA in protesting for human rights. If you are in Washington, DC, on Friday April 12th, we hope you too will join us.read more
Thursday April 4, Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba'aneh was sentenced by a military court in Salem to five months in prison and a fine of 10,000 shekels for 'contact with a hostile organization'. The news is confirmed by Mohammad's brother Adel and his lawyer Riadh Arda.read more
"Graffiti is a dangerous cause as it is, and with perpetual violence against women in Egypt, you’d think female graffiti artists would be too intimidated to work on the city streets," writes Cairo journalist Soraya Morayef. "But they’re not; they’re young, tough, talented and just as worthy of recognition as their male counterparts." What follows is a small window into the work of Cairo street artists.read more
Anti-corruption cartoonist and the co-recipient of the CRNI 2012 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning, Aseem Trivedi has been nominated and shortlisted for a Freedom of Expression Award by the venerable free speech organization Index on Censorship. Aseem has been nominated and shortlisted in the same category – the Arts – as the other co-recipient of last year’s Courage Award and last year’s recipient of the Freedom of Expression Arts Award, Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat. The other shortlisted nominees in the Arts category of Index’s Freedom of Expression Award include the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, South-African photographer Zanele Muholi, and, Saudi-Arabian film maker Haifaa Al Mansour. The recipients in all four categories of the 2013 Freedom of Expression Awards – Journalism, Digital Freedom, Advocacy, and the Arts – were announced and honored on March 21st in London.read more
A Saudi cartoon and a Lebanese cartoon, believed to have been drawn in reaction to the Saudi cartoon, have similarities more striking then differences. Granted, the first cartoon, the Saudi cartoon was drawn by well-known cartoonist Jihad Awrtani of the popular daily newspaper Al-Watan, while the artist of second cartoon, the Lebanese cartoon, is anonymous. Both cartoons, though, take on a powerful figure in their respective countries. And both cartoons have been unfairly attacked.read more
On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, Ali Charaf Damache, an Algerian man believed to have led the 'Jihad Jane Conspiracy' to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, was released from custody in Ireland after pleading guilty to threatening Majed Moughni, an American Muslim attorney and anti-terrorist protester. Damache’s freedom was brief. Irish police, the Gardaí, carrying out an American extradition warrant, arrested Damache leaving the Waterford District Court. The Dublin High Court will decide if and when Damache will be extradited to the United States.read more
Time is running out to nominate a cartoonist for the 2013 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning! Nominations will be accepted up until midnight EST February 28, 2013.
Nearly five months ago Syrian authorities arrested Akram Raslan (sometimes spelled 'Rslan' or 'Reslan'), a cartoonist employed by a government newspaper. We believe Akram was arrested in response to cartoons critical of the Syrian regime that Akram had drawn outside of his newspaper work. Akram openly posted these cartoons in his own name on the Internet, most notably on the Al Jazeera website. On October 2, 2012, Akram was taken from the offices of Al-Fida (or Fedaa) newspaper in the city of Hama. Despite the best efforts of diplomats and human rights organizations, no news of Akram’s fate has emerged.read more
On February 7th the Kolkata High Court vindicated the recommendations of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) concerning the police mistreatment of Ambikesh Mahapatra, an Indian chemistry professor, and his neighbor, retired engineer Subrata Sengupta – but not in the criminal case against Ambikesh and Subrata. The Kolkata High Court vindicated the WBHRC’s opinion by allowing former Kolkata mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattachayya, over the objections of the government attorneys, to file a new public interest litigation (PIL) against the officers who arrested Ambikesh and Subrata.read more
Seven years after playing an important role in igniting outrage over the 12 Danish Cartoons, a key player in Danish Cartoon Controversy has expressed some regret. So has his replacement. Ahmed Akkari, the former spokesman for Det Islamiske Trossamfund (The Islamic Society in Denmark), said in an interview last week that he now regrets traveling to the Middle East to escalate what had been to that point a local issue. He gave that interview to a reporter with Jyllands-Posten the Danish newspaper that had originally published the 12 Danish Cartoons. Akkari’s statement was made shortly after the current spokesman for Det Islamiske Trossamfund, Imran Shah, also expressed regret for the Middle East trip.read more
Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba'aneh was detained late on Saturday, February 16th, by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the Karame border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. The Palestinian Journalist's Syndicate denounced the arrest of Mohammad, and issued a press release stating the IDF is systematically targeting journalists and infringing their freedom of movement.read more
On Sunday January 27th, Martin Ivens the acting editor of The Sunday Times quickly and firmly stood by editorial cartoonist Gerald Scarfe when one of Gerald’s typically brutal cartoons led to a flood of complaints, and then the same editor almost as quickly and firmly denounced the cartoon after his boss Rupert Murdoch weighed in on the controversy. Mr. Murdoch is the chairman and CEO of News Corp., the parent company of The Sunday Times.read more
Less than a year after Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and Subrata Sengupta were assaulted and arrested for emailing a very tame cartoon of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, another individual has been targeted for merely sharing a cartoon about the Chief Minister. Indian media report that on Friday, January 18, 2013, (or Thursday, according to The Hindu) a police complaint was filed against sophomore college student Ramnayan Chowdhury for sharing a cartoon on his Facebook page. But something may have changed in the last nine months. While Chief Minister Banerjee and other prominent members of the Chief Minister’s party, the Trinamool Congress, were quick to defend the prosecution of Professor Mahapatra and Mr. Sengupta, this time around the calls for punishment from prominent Trinamool Congress members are curiously absent.read more
One week after Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana was sentenced to 14 years in prison for providing material support to a terrorist organization and for plotting to kill employees of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Rana’s co-conspirator David Headley was sentenced to 35 years in the same United States federal court, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Like Rana, Headley had pled guilty to plotting to kill employees of Jyllands-Posten, the paper that had published the 12 Danish Cartoons in 2005. That terror plot was never carried out. Unlike Rana, Headley also pled guilty to a number of charges surrounding the terrorist attack carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba on Mumbai, India in 2008, in which 166 innocent people were killed.read more
Today is the third anniversary of the disappearance of Sri Lankan investigative reporter, columnist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda. An outspoken critic of the regime of President Mahinda Rajapakse, Prageeth was last seen leaving the offices of the pro-opposition paper the Lanka E-news in Rajagiriya, a suburb of Colombo. Cartoonists Rights Network International marked the anniversary of Prageeth’s disappearance by joining forces with Amnesty International. Together we delivered to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington, DC an Amnesty International petition urging the Sri Lankan government to do what to date it has failed to do – conduct a thorough investigation into the disappearance of this journalist, devoted husband and father of two boys. We also delivered a condolence card and expressed our sympathies to the Sri Lankan Embassy for Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya. On Wednesday the Sri Lankan Embassy announced the passing of Mr. Premadasa Wickramasuriya, the beloved father of the Ambassador.read more
“This is about as serious as it gets. It only would have been more serious if it had been carried out.” These were the words spoken by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber on January 17, 2013, at the sentencing of Tahawwur Rana. 52-year-old Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana was sentenced to 14 years in prison for providing material support to a South Asian terrorist organization and for plotting to assassinate employees of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. In 2005 Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 30 years.read more
On Wednesday, January 2, 2013, the French satirical weekly paper Charlie Hebdo published the first in a series of comic books on the life of the Prophet Mohammad. Charlie Hebdo’s editor Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, the illustrator of this special edition to the magazine, has promised this series will be “perfectly halal” – in other words, permissible under Islamic law. In an interview with CRNI Deputy Director Drew Rougier-Chapman in May of 2012, Charb said the then upcoming series, based on accounts from Muslim sources, would be “a sincere attempt to understand, not mock, the Prophet Mohammad.” Charb said he took on this project because non-Muslims in France know little about Mohammad and Islam. Despite Charb’s professed good intentions, reactions to The Life of Mohammad: The Beginnings of a Prophet have been swift and critical, even from one unexpected source.read more
Last weekend Salafist lawyer and the new Secretary General of the National Center for Defense of Freedoms, Khaled El Masry filed a lawsuit against businessman Naguib Sawiris, newspaper editor Yasser Rizk and cartoonist Doaa El Adl. (Some reports indicate that the lawsuit was initiated on Saturday December 22, 2012, while other reports indicate that the lawsuit was initiated on Sunday.) In the lawsuit, the Secretary General claims a cartoon, drawn by Doaa and published online by the newspaper Al-Masry Al-Toum, insults the Bible’s Adam, a prophet figure in the Muslim religion. Shortly after the filing, Attorney General Talaat Abdallah ordered an investigation.read more
Cartoonists Rights Network International once again thanks all the volunteers who donated their time and efforts, all the talented cartoonists who donated their artwork, and all the fans of cartoons who championed our local youth and everyone's free speech rights. Thank you so much making the 2012 Cartoons & Cocktails Charity Auction a fun and successful event. CRNI also thanks DC United soccer star Robbie Russel, Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, and two-time Super Bowl champion Jim Stuckey for helping to make this year's Cartoons & Cocktails a memorable event.read more
While welcoming moves to implement measures that guarantee media independence, the IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), a coalition of 21 IFEX members, calls on the Tunisian government to fully respect freedom of expression in the new Constitution and to put an end to attacks on journalists and artists.read more
Today, November 23, 2012, marks two important anniversaries in the history of human rights. On this day in 2009, fifty-eight people were murdered in the town of Ampatuan on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Thirty-four of those individuals were journalists in what is believed to be the deadliest single attack on the press. Last year IFEX, a global network of organizations committed to defending and promoting the right to freedom of expression, launched the International Day to End Impunity. The goal of the Day is to achieve justice for those persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression by drawing global attention to the issue of impunity. The Day not only raises public awareness about what creates and sustains a culture of impunity, it also prompts concerned citizens world-wide to take action, make their voices heard and demand justice.read more
On October 27, 2012, Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa, dropped a nearly $580,000 lawsuit against the Sunday Times, the former editor of the Sunday Times, Mondli Makhanya, and, editorial cartoonist Jonathan “Zapiro” Shapiro. The civil case of 4 million rand for damage to reputation and 1 million rand for impairment to dignity was set to be heard in the Johannesburg High Court the following day, more than four years after publication of Zapiro’s “Rape of Justice” cartoon. But in the week leading up to the trial, the demands of Zuma's legal team steadily declined. The initial demand for 5 million rand was reduced to 4 million as the claim of impairment to dignity was abandoned. Then the monetary demand was reduced to 100,000 rand, provided an unconditional apology was given. When no apology or counter-offer was given, President Zuma and his team finally threw in the towel. President Zuma even agreed to pay half of the defendants’ legal costs. There is no word yet, however, on the other two lawsuits initiated by Jacob Zuma against Zapiro, or, the dozen other lawsuits initiated by Zuma against others critical of him.read more
The 25th Annual Cartoons & Cocktails Auction, the largest auction of editorial cartoons in the United States, will be held on November 15, 2012, from 6 PM to 9 PM in the ballroom of the National Press Club in Washington, DC. This will be your chance to bid on and buy original artwork while benefitting two very worthy non-profit organizations: Cartoonists Rights Network International and Young D.C., a local organization that teaches teens journalism skills.read more
A cartoonist under attack is often the one best able to assess his or her situation. When first interviewed by CRNI, Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi said the biggest threat to him was not from the judicial system, despite the fact that Aseem was accused of sedition. The more serious threat, according to Aseem, was from the thugs who seek to physically harm him regardless of what any court of law may decide what to do with him. In our January 11, 2012 interview, Aseem said, “The court can say ‘Give him two years punishment’ and I can accept that. I will accept that. But that is not the only cost in India. . . . I will have to face the public court. And that is where the problem starts. The public might throw stones at me. . . . Or they will beat me. . . . I am sorry to say this about my country. But we lack a little civilization. And yet we were the first civilization.” The last couple of weeks may have proven Aseem’s point.read more
im·pu·ni·ty \im-'pyü-nə-tē\ n. without punishment, without consequences
Attention all cartoonists! Help us draw the world's attention by creating an editorial cartoon about impunity. IFEX, an international network of free expression groups, is launching an editorial cartoon contest. Titled the Draw Attention to Impunity: Editorial Cartoon Contest, this cartoon contest will be part of the second annual International Day to End Impunity on November 23, 2012. The deadline for entries is November 4, 2012. Some of the entries will be featured on the International Day to End Impunity website, and the top three winners will receive cash prizes.read more
On October 11, 2012, Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbor Mr. Subrata Sengupta of West Bengal, India, learned that the West Bengal Police had dropped three of the four charges against these innocent men. Mahapatra and Sengupta are no longer facing charges of insulting the modesty of a woman (under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)), defamation (under Section 500 of the IPC), or, committing such offences when an abettor is present (under Section 114 of the IPC). The only charge that the police have retained on the chargesheet, for emailing a very tame cartoon to the members of Mahapatra’s and Sengupta’s housing society, is that of causing offense using a computer (under Section 66 (b) of the Information Technology Act).read more
In June of this year, the Canadian newspaper the Vancouver Province took down an animated editorial cartoon that lampoons the Enbridge Corporation. As we reported in a previous article -- Dan Murphy, the Editorial Cartoonist and Editorial Animator of the Vancouver Province, Speaks Out After His Paper and His Company "Blink" -- the animated cartoon was reportedly removed from the paper’s website "because that energy company had issued an ultimatum to Postmedia Network Inc., the parent company of the Province and nineteen other newspapers and magazines. On June 22nd apparently both the Province and Postmedia blinked when Enbridge Inc. threatened to pull 1 million CAD in ads." That animated cartoon has not been reposted. However, Dan continues to post traditional editorial cartoons and animated editorial cartoons critical of the Enbridge Corporation on the paper's website. CRNI has been monitoring the situation at the Vancouver Province since this disturbing incident of corporate interference into a newspaper’s editorial decision making. Earlier this week we sent Kevin Bent, the President and Publisher of the Pacific Newspaper Group, Executive Vice President Western Canada, the following letter of protest.read more
On September 26, 2012, thirty IFEX affiliated human rights organizations, and three prominent cartooning organizations, the Cartoon Movement, the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, and the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists, issued a joint action letter calling on charges against Indian citizens Professor Mahapatra and Mr. Sengupta to be dropped. This public letter is addressed to Prime Minister Singh and President Shri Pranab Mukherjee. We urge all supporters of free speech to copy this letter, and fax, email, or mail the letter to the Prime Minister and the President of India.read more
On Wednesday September 19, 2012, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons mocking both the film Innocence of Muslims, and, the violent reactions to that film that erupted in many Muslim countries. The latest collection of cartoons includes naked caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. Fearing another outbreak of violence, the French government condemned the magazine’s decision to publish the cartoons as an irresponsible act at a very sensitive time. The editor Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier and the editor in chief Gerard Biard stood by their decision as a matter of free speech. Fortunately the worst fears of the French government have not come true. The reaction of the Muslim community – the biggest in Europe at an estimate nearly five million followers – has been critical but largely composed. While the cartoons have not sparked any widespread violence in France or abroad, they have sparked a lively debate.read more
On September 16, 2012, American journalist and cartoonist Susie Cagle sat for an interview (featured below) with CRNI Executive Director Robert "Bro" Russell. Susie and Bro began the interview by discussing her reporting of the Occupy Oakland Movement, her unconstitutional arrest by the Oakland Police, and, the legal limbo she has been in ever since. Susie in fact has been improperly arrested twice. A charge, from her first arrest, of failing to leave the scene of a riot, has neither been dismissed against this journalist nor been pursued by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Susie, a Columbia University School of Journalism graduate, then gave her analysis of "the state of total disruption in the media" while defending the citizen journalist. Despite her First Amendment rights being violated, Susie interestingly concluded the interview on a hopeful note. (The coughing heard just shy of the five minute mark in the video is that of Susie's father, cartoonist and entrepreneur Daryl Cagle of Cagle Cartoons.)read more
Yesterday, Indian editorial cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was released on bail on a bond of 5,000 rupees ($90). This year’s co-winner of Cartoonists Rights Network’s Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award (along with Syrian cartoonist Ali Fezat), Aseem was greeted by the media and hundreds of supporters upon his release. Aseem was arrested on September 12th because a private citizen made a complaint about his anti-corruption cartoons. Aseem surrendered himself to the police after they brought his father in for questioning. Aseem has been charged with sedition under Section 12A of the Penal Code, Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults of National Honour Act, and, 66A of the Information Technology Act. In India the charge of sedition is punishable with up to life imprisonment. He stated to the media,“Although I am free, the battle will continue.”read more
Amnesty International, Cartoonists Rights Network International, and, Malaysian cartoonist Zunar will be protesting the the Embassy of Malaysia, located at 3516 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008, on September 12, 2012, between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm. If you would like to voice your support for the free speech rights of editorial cartoonist Zunar, other Malaysian editorial cartoonists, and all Malaysians, please join us.read more
On August 13, 2012, the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), after conducting a nearly three month investigation initiated suo motu (at its own motion or initiative), issued a stinging rebuke to the police officers of Purba Jadavpur Police Station on the southern fringe of Kolkata. The WBHRC characterized the officers’ treatment in April of Indian Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbor, retired engineer Subrata Sengupta, as a “case of police excess and highhandedness.” After the two men were assaulted for emailing a fairly innocuous cartoon poking fun of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the police officers immediate response was to arrest Mahapatra and Sengupta. In its advisory opinion the WBHRC recommended departmental proceedings against the two arresting officers, Additional Officer-in-Charge Milan Kumar Das and Sub-Inspector Sanjoy Biswas. The WBHRC also ordered the West Bengal government to pay both Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and Mr. Subrata Sengupta each Rs. 50,000 (approximately $900). The WBHRC advisory opinion states, “The government must compensate Mahapatra and Sengupta for the manner in which they were arrested from their residential complex and detained” in the police lockup of the police station.read more
Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) has learned that an arrest warrant has been issued for Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. He is at this moment participating in a late-night demonstration in New Delhi protesting the warrant put out for his arrest. Trivedi is this year's winner of the prestigious CRNI Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning to be given at the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists in Washington, DC on September 15th. It is not known what exactly the terms of the warrant are. However, what is known is that Trivedi has been unfairly accused by enemies of his anticorruption campaign of demeaning the government of India through his cartoons. Trivedi is also a primary organizer of Save Your Voice, a free speech campaign lobbying all levels of Indian government to stop unwarranted censorship of Internet sites.read more
In the wake of recent government appointments to heads of prominent media outlets, as well as attacks on journalists, writers and artists, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), a coalition of 21 members of the International Freedom of Expression network (IFEX), expresses serious concern over what has been a wave of setbacks for freedom of expression in Tunisia. IFEX is a global network of committed organizations working to defend and promote free expression. IFEX-TMG is a coalition of 21 members of IFEX. As part of the IFEX global network and the 21-member IFEX-TMG coalition, Cartoonists Rights Network International joins this publicly released statement of concern.read more
Regularly followers of our postings by now are well aware that Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi has been named one of the 2012 recipients of CRNI’s Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award, along with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat. What many readers may not know is just how vulnerable free speech rights are in India, the world’s largest democracy. In the weeks leading up to the CRNI Courage Award ceremony to be held on September 15th in Washington, DC, we will be posting recent stories of attempts to silence the political speech in Indian editorial cartoons. Our first story is about a chemistry professor named Dr. Ambikesh Mahapatra who was beaten up and then charged with crimes for merely forwarding a very tame editorial collage cartoon via email. He was even accused by Mamata Banerjee the Chief Minister of West Bengal of conspiring with Venezuelans, Hungarians, Marxists, Maoists, North Koreans and Pakistan’s intelligence agency to murder the Chief Minister.read more
The Kuala Lumpur High Court has finally handed down its long-awaited ruling on the lawsuit filed by Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, aka Zunar, and his publishing company Sepakat Efektif Sdn Bhd against the Malaysian authorities for detaining Zunar and confiscating his books and artwork on September 24, 2010 – the very day his book Cartoon-O-Phobia was to be launched. Represented by Lawyers For Liberty, Zunar and his publishing company had sued the Home Ministry, Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar, and, police officers Arikrishna Apparau and Marina Hashim. For Zunar and all Malaysians struggling for freedom of expression and freedom of the press, the ruling is at best a mixed bag.read more
On Monday July 23, 2012, Moroccan editorial cartoonist Khalid Gueddar was detained by police after Khalid reposted a cartoon which he originally created in 2009. Depicting lingerie being thrown from a minaret of a mosque, the cartoon is a critique of an imam who is alleged to have solicited a prostitute in a mosque. Khalid said he reposted the cartoon after reports surfaced of a similar incident. Khalid said he was detained for six hours during which he was questioned about his website, the recently reposted cartoon, his other cartoons, and, his religious beliefs. The police told Khalid that his cartoon insults Islam. In statements to CRNI, Khalid and his attorney Omar Bendjelloun said Khalid’s work protects religion by pointing out transgressions by certain imams. To date no charges have been filed against Khalid Gueddar for this cartoon.read more
Venezuelan columnist and cartoonist Rayma Suprani is rarely surprised by what she calls the dictatorial tendencies of the Chavez Regime. After all, Rayma is very aware that merely drawing President Hugo Chavez’s face can result in a 30-month prison sentence. But Rayma was shaken, and understandably so, by unfounded accusations made by a talk show host on the state-run television channel Venezolana de Televisión (VTV). She was even more shaken by threatening tweets and emails from Chavez supporters after the program aired. Mario Silva, the host of La Hojilla (The Razorblade) accused Rayma of being a hate-filled racist and elitist. The ensuing tweets and emails threatened her with violence, expulsion from Venezuela and some even threatened her with death. The accusations were in response to a March 14 cartoon by Rayma that criticizes the government's treatment of the homeless. The cartoon depicts a man inside a doghouse asking, “What housing plan?” Despite the on-air attacks and the ensuing threats via Twitter and email, Rayma continues to bravely express her opinions.read more
“Is that supposed to happen? I don’t think that’s supposed to happen,” are early lines in an animated parody of an energy company’s advertisement as first globs and then gushes of animated oil blot out the pastoral scene portrayed in the advertisement. Editorial cartoonist and animator, Dan Murphy of the Vancouver Province felt the same way after he was told his animated parody was removed from his paper’s website because that energy company had issued an ultimatum to Postmedia Network Inc., the parent company of the Province and nineteen other newspapers and magazines. On June 22nd apparently both the Province and Postmedia blinked when Enbridge Inc. threatened to pull 1 million CAD in ads. Dan was told that instead of calling Enbridge’s bluff, Postmedia told the publisher of the Province to take the parody down from the website or the editor would be fired. The parody was taken down. To Dan this was one of those “red flag moments.” He couldn’t stay silent. In the days that followed, Dan risked being fired by giving a limited number of interviews repeating what he had been told as to why his parody was no longer featured on the paper’s website.read more
If you have ever had to wait on a judicial decision, you know how nerve-racking the waiting can be. Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, aka Zunar, apparently believes the American proverb that “Action is worry’s worst enemy.” In the last couple of weeks, Zunar has been very busy while waiting for a judgment on his lawsuit against the authorities for illegally detaining him and confiscating copies of his aptly titled book Cartoon-O-Phobia. When the Malaysian Election Commission recently banned political parties from using caricatures in flyers and posters during the current election campaign, Zunar not only defied the ban, but also began organizing a tour of cartoonists to hand out campaign materials containing caricatures. Then, when the Malaysian Government organized a cartoon festival and offered Zunar an award and RM10,000 (about 3,000 USD), he issued a strongly worded public statement explaining why accepting such a prize from Prime Minister Najib Razak would be an insult to the cause of free speech.read more
Sometime in the early morning hours of November 2, 2011 the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed and its website was hacked. These attacks were apparently in response to a then upcoming issue which was to be “guest-edited” by the Prophet Mohammad. In spite of the violent attack and numerous death threats before and since the attacks, the Charlie Hebdo team has refused to be intimidated. That issue of the magazine, with a cartoon depiction of Mohammed on the cover, was released shortly after the website attack and the firebomb attack. The very next issue even made light (pun intended) of the attack. A little over six months after the attack, on May 20, the Editor and cartoonist Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier gave Drew Rougier-Chapman, CRNI’s Deputy Director, a tour of Charlie Hebdo’s temporary offices. Charb also sat down for an interview in which he emphasized that extremist Muslims are not the only extremists in France trying to silence speech. As for his and his coworkers’ resolve, Charb said, “We can’t live in jail. ... So we continue.”read more
On April 23, 2012, Robert "Bro" Russell, the Executive Director of CRNI interviewed Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat. In May CRNI announced that Ali Ferzat and Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi would receive our 2012 Courage in Editoiral Cartooning Award. Ali was a unanimous choice of our Board of Directors for (1) daring to criticize Syrian President Bashar Assad, and, for (2) daring to publicly declare that the attack he suffered on August 25, 2011, was carried out by thugs of the Assad Regime. With Ali's consent, we now post this interview. In this interview Ali explains what led him to criticize the Assad Regime, gives his analysis of the situation in Syria, and recounts the brutal attack he suffered. CRNI Board Member and this year's Pulitzer Prize Winner for Editorial Cartooning, Matt Wuerker, the editorial cartoonist for Politico.com, first gives a little background about Ali in an audio interview with CRNI Deputy Director Drew Rougier-Chapman.read more
On Friday June 22, 2012, Jesse Curtis Morton from Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to eleven and a half years in federal prison for posting online threats against cartoonist Molly Norris, and, against the creators of South Park, an animated Comedy Central television program. Morton, a 33-year-old Muslim convert and the co-founder of the new-defunct Revolution Muslim website, was arrested last year in Morocco and deported to the United States. He pleaded guilty in February to making threatening communications, using the Internet to put others in fear and using his position of authority within radical circles to conspire to commit murder. The sentence was handed down in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.read more
On Thursday, June 13, 2012, 32-year-old Indonesian civil servant Alexander Aan was convicted of disseminating information aimed at inflicting religious hatred under Article 28(2) of Indonesia’s Electronic Information and Transaction (IET) Law. He was then sentenced to 30 months prison and fined Rp 100 million or the equivalent of $10,600. Alexander, or Alex, was initially arrested after a mob assaulted him for openly declaring his atheism online and for posting articles and panels of a comic strip critical of the Prophet Mohammad. After explaining to the police why he had been attacked, Alex was charged under Article 156a(a) of the Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP) with blasphemy and under Article 156a(a) of the KUHP with persuading others to embrace atheism, in addition to disseminating information aimed at inflicting religious hatred. The court dismissed the first two charges. Both the prosecution and the defense have filed appeals. To date, not one of Alex’s assailants has been arrested or charged with any crimes in connection with the assault.read more
Apparent good news is slipping out of Iran. Reliable sources are telling us that cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh will not receive twenty-five lashes for drawing a very tame cartoon of Parliamentarian Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani in the Iranian journal Nam-e Amir. Following a public outcry both in and out of Iran that ridiculed the sensitive politician much more pointedly than Mahmoud’s cartoon, Ashtiani withdrew his complaint against Mahmoud. The Press Court however has not dismissed the case. The judge has ordered Mahmoud Shokraiyeh to pay a fine equivalent to somewhere around $100, and has ordered Mahmoud’s publisher Abolfazl Nikahd to pay a fine equivalent to somewhere around $3,000.read more
The Associated Press and Reuters are reporting that all four men who planned to attack the Copenhagen offices of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten have been convicted of terrorism and all four have been sentenced to twelve years in prison. The four men, a Tunisian and three Swedish citizens of North African and Mideast origin, were also ordered to leave Denmark once they complete their prison sentences. The Swedish citizens, Sahbi Ben Mohamed Zalouti, Munir Awad and Omar Abdalla Aboelazm, and Tunisian national, Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, were found not guilty of a secondary charge of weapons possession due to a technicality.read more
In April the German anti-immigration, anti-Islamic Pro NRW Party announced plans to run a "Mohammad cartoon contest" as well as plans to protest outside twenty-five mosques throughout the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the run-up to state elections on May 13. These plans were provocative ploys to garner attention and votes. The party however failed to win a single seat to the state legislature and captured only 1.5 percent of the vote. The party did garner a great deal of attention including that from radical German Salafists and from a Bonn-born terrorist.read more
For more than a decade the Cartoonists Rights Network International has been a member of the IFEX free speech and human rights network. Recently, CRNI/IFEX conducted a workshop for MENA region cartoonists in the city of Sousse, Tunisia. CRNI's Director Robert Russell and Board Member Nik Kowsar, were joined by IFEX Representative Ghias Aljundi as workshop leaders. Among the issues discussed was the state of free speech in the post-Arab Revolution period in Tunisia. It was noted that a blogger, Jabeur Mejri, who imported a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed into his blog, had been arrested for disturbing public order. Despite the fact that there was no disturbance to public order, Jabeur was sentenced to seven years in prison. This sentence contradicted the public statements of various Tunisian ministers when they spoke about free speech and human rights.read more
Earlier this week an Iranian Press Court sentenced cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh (also spelled Mahmud Shokraye) to twenty-five lashes. Mahmoud's local parliamentarian Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani was offended by a caricature of him that appeared in the newspaper Nameye Amir. Ashtiani sought charges against Mahmoud and his publisher. The publisher was spared the lash. Mahmoud, who has not yet sought an appeal of the conviction, will soon receive this cruel punishment -- unless a public outcry can be brought to bear.read more
May 9, 2012, Burke, Virginia - Today Dr. Robert Russell, the Executive Director of the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), announced the winners of the 2012 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award as decided by a unanimous vote of the CRNI Board of Directors. The winners are Ali Ferzat, from Syria, and Aseem Trivedi, from India. CRNI, the only international organization exclusively devoted to defending the human rights of cartoonists imperiled because of their work, will hold the award ceremony during the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) on September 15. The ceremony is currently scheduled to take place at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington, DC.read more
On May 2, 2012, Denmark’s Supreme Court, the highest court in the country, upheld the conviction of Mohamed Geele. On January 1, 2010, the 30-year-old Somali man broke into the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard with an axe and a knife yelling, “You must die! You are going to hell!” Convicted of terrorism, Mohamed Geele will serve ten years before being permanently expelled from Denmark.read more
Parents, do you know what your kids are getting into when they go online? A sad and shocking verdict out of Philadelphia from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania makes a strong case that you better. On Friday May 4, 2012, 18-year-old Mohammad Hassan Khalid pled guilty to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists – support he provided long before he turned eighteen. Born in Pakistan and raised in Maryland, Mohammad was an honors student who had earned a scholarship to Johns Hopkins University. Instead of a future of promise and opportunity, Mohammad faces a sentence of up to fifteen years and fine of up to $250,000. He also faces the possibility of deportation after his sentence is served.read more
Nearly twenty years ago, the United Nations formally recognized just how indispensable an independent and vibrant press is to the rights of each and every one of us by declaring May 3rd World Press Freedom Day. For me, the co-Founder and Executive Director of the Cartoonists Rights Network International, this day will always hold great significance. Just over twenty years ago I began to recognize the importance, and the vulnerability, of one particularly conspicuous member of the press – the editorial cartoonist. A friend, the late Sri Lankan cartoonist Jiffry Yoonoos, opened my eyes by daring to expose his government’s war crimes even after he was brutally beaten and stabbed at his home in front of his wife and kids.read more
At a cartooning workshop in Sousse, Tunisia, participants from Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Syria compared how cartoons and wall graffiti were influential in the Arab Spring. At the gathering of 16 cartoonists, activists and the experts, the events of the year after the "Arab Spring" were highlighted in both discussion and cartoon drawing. The workshop was organized on 28 and 29 May 2012 by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), in cooperation with Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) with support from the Tunisian Centre for Freedom of the Press (CTPJ).read more
The question is often posed to representatives of our organization, "Are there any cartoons so vile that you would not offer your support to the creator or creators of the work?" Our response is that, in accordance with our Mission Statement, we will not offer support to the creator or creators of a cartoon advocating hate or violence. Exactly where a strong critique of a politician or policy ends and where a hate-filled call to violence begins, can occasionally be a difficult line to draw. There is no such difficulty when it comes to North Korea's latest anti-Lee Myung-bak cartoons. The cartoons, which were released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in the last week of April 2012, depict the South Korean President as a rat being butchered in a variety of gruesome ways. The cartoons include slogans calling for the President's eradication. The slogan on the above cartoon for instance reads, "Let's rip apart the rat Lee Myung-bak!"read more
The news agency Reuters is reporting that tomorrow, April 13, 2012, three Swedish citizens and one Tunisian national will go to trial as scheduled for allegedly plotting to attack the offices of Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Reuters is also reporting that the identities of the four previously unnamed defendants have been released. The four men are “[44-year-old] Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, a Tunisian citizen, [29-year-old] Munir Awad a Swedish citizen born in Lebanon, [30-year-old] Omar Abdalla Aboelazm, a Swedish citizen born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Egyptian father, and [37-year-old] Sahbi Ben Mohamed Zalouti, a Swedish citizen of Tunisian origin.” Meanwhile, the Swedish English language newspaper the National is reporting that the “names of the judges and courts that have played a key role” in the case have been classified.read more
On March 23rd, exiled Iranian cartoonist and CRNI 2011 Courage Award recipient, Mana Neyestani posted a cartoon on his Facebook page that was inspired, and quickly adopted, by a new and almost instantly popular online peace movement. Created just five days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a “cancerous tumor” and just four days after the Israeli government issued a warning about Iran’s nuclear program, Mana’s cartoon – simply titled No War! – has struck a chord with thousands of Israelis and Iranians seeking a peaceful resolution to the rising tensions. No War! has gone viral, generating more than 7,000 hits.read more
On Friday February 24, 2012, family, friends and colleagues gathered to remember Jerry Robinson, cartoonist, comic book superhero and supervillian creator, creators’ rights activist, editorial cartoonist, historian, curator, teacher, businessman, human rights activist and devoted family man. Jerry passed away December 7, 2011. The memorial, hosted at the Time Life Building in New York City by DC Entertainment, was ably MCd by Jerry’s son Jens, editor of CartoonArts International.read more
On March 22, 2012, Turkey's European Union Minister Egemen Bağış posted on his Twitter account a cartoon poking fun of him. The cartoon by Erdil Yaşaroğlu appeared on the cover of the weekly comic magazine Penguen. Both the minister's name and the name of the magazine should sound familar to supporters of free speech.read more
On March 19, 2012, freelance editorial cartoonist Gary McCoy was interviewed over the telephone by Deputy Director Drew Rougier-Chapman of the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI). Prior to the interview, Drew and Robert "Bro" Russell, the Executive Director of CRNI, spoke at length with Gary after learning that Gary had received a threatening email.read more
The Associated Press reported that on March 2, 2012, Danish prosecutors charged four Swedish men with terrorism for allegedly planning a shooting attack on the Copenhagen offices of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Sven Ulrik Larsen, Denmark's top prosecutor, said the group traveled to Copenhagen with arms and ammunition, including a submachine gun and a handgun, to kill "a large number of people." The men, whose names have been withheld by court order, are scheduled to go to trial beginning April 13, 2012.read more
The Moroccan regime’s recent reactions to one dated cartoon have twice proven that the reforms to the Moroccan constitution enacted in response to last summer’s protests have not yet secured the hoped-for progress on free speech. Disseminating even mild criticism of the King is still a serious, punishable offense. First published by the French paper Le Monde in 2009, the above cartoon by Burkina Faso-based professional cartoonist Damien Glez has sparked two unwarranted recent reactions from authorities in Morocco.read more
Time is running out to nominate a cartoonist for the 2012 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning! Nominations will be accepted up until midnight EST February 29, 2012.
On January 11, 2012, CRNI interviewed Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. At that time Aseem’s website, Cartoons Against Corruption, had recently been suspended after a lawyer, Rajendra Pratap Pandey, made a complaint to the Mumbai Police, which the Mumbai Police passed on to the website’s domain name registrar, Indian based company Big Rock. In the complaint Mr. Pandey objected to some of Aseem’s anti-corruption cartoons which were featured on the website. Mr. Pandey also objected to these cartoons being displayed as posters at a peaceful protest led by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare. In an interview titled Cartoonist Faces Ban on Right to Poke Fun with India Real Time, Mr. Pandey made the claim that Mr. Trivedi has the right to ridicule individual politicians but that he does not have the right to ridicule the Indian Parliament, the national emblem or the national flag. Since our interview and after he posted his anti-corruption cartoons on a new website, Aseem was charged with treason and insulting the national emblem in the Beed District Court in Maharashtra. The Cartoonists Rights Network International urges the authorities in the world’s largest democracy to stand up for free speech and put an end to all the attempts to silence Aseem’s political speech. Dr. Robert Russell, Executive Director of CRNI, commented, "Aseem’s enemies either don’t know how to interpret symbols in editorial cartoons or are knowingly twisting the law to silence dissent in order to shield corrupt officials."read more
On January 23, 2012, at 9 pm, EST, Dr. Robert “Bro” Russell, the Executive Director of Cartoonists Rights Network interviewed Sandya Eknaligoda, the wife of missing Sri Lankan journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda. For Sandya the interview took place at 7:30 am Sri Lankan time, on January 24th, the second anniversary of the day her husband disappeared. It is presumed that Prageeth was kidnapped for his work investigating and criticizing the Sri Lankan government of President Rajapaksa.read more
The Associated Press and the Washington Post are reporting that a Swedish criminal court has acquitted the three men accused of plotting to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. The three men who were armed with knives outside an art gallery shortly before the cartoonist was to make a rare public appearance, were acquitted on Friday by the Goteborg District Court. The cartoonist has been in hiding after receiving numerous death threats.read more
On December 22, 2011, CRNI Deputy Director Drew Rougier-Chapman interviewed Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, the Editor-in-Chief of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that was firebombed at approximately 1:00 am on November 2, 2011. The magazine’s offices were firebombed and its website was hacked apparently by Islamic extremists angered by a then upcoming issue to poke fun of Sharia law. The attack did not prevent publication of the issue and fortunately no one was hurt in the attack. Unfortunately this violent crime remains unsolved. In the interview, which was superbly translated by Delphine Halgand, the DC Director of Reporters Without Borders, Charb describes how his staff has responded with their characteristic bravery and irreverence.read more
On December 2, 2011, CRNI Director Robert "Bro" Russell had a Skype exchange with Turkish cartoonist Bahadir Baruter. Bahadir faces up to one year in prison for drawing a cartoon that appeared in the Turkish humor magazine Penguen. The cartoon depicts a man praying in a mosque. Hidden in the background of the cartoon on a wall is a scribble that says, "There is no Allah" and "Religion is a lie." Bahadir, who has been charged with "insulting the religious values adopted by a part of the population," had his first court hearing on this charge on September 28, 2011. His trial is scheduled for March 29, 2012. This is one of only a few interviews Bahadir has given since being charged. He does though plan to speak with a number of international media outlets and human rights organizations, including CRNI, in the weeks leading up to his trial date.read more
As the Occupy movement has spread from Wall Street to a number of American cities, so has the detaining and arresting of journalists reporting on the protests. This trend (which is well documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists in their November 11, 2011, article At Occupy protests, U.S. journalists arrested, assaulted) is a disturbing new threat to the First Amendment rights of journalists. On November 3, 2011, we were informed that editorial cartoonist and reporter Susie Cagle was arrested in Oakland while reporting on the Occupy Oakland movement. She was detained for approximately fifteen hours, cited with failure to leave the scene of a riot, and otherwise treated as a law breaking demonstrator and not as a journalist during her job. That charge is still pending against her despite the fact that Ms. Cagle has made extraordinary attempts to identify herself as a member of the press to the Oakland Police Department (OPD). Before the protests began she frequently phoned and emailed the OPD's Public Information Officer seeking an OPD press badge. At the time of her arrest she openly and prominently displayed her employer issued press badge while verbally informing the arresting officer of her status as a member of the press. To date the Oakland Police Department and the Oakland District Attorney's office has yet to dismiss the charge even though the OPD has since granted Ms. Cagle an OPD press badge and thus acknowledged Ms. Cagle's status as a journalist.read more
The BBC, The New York Times and a number of French papers (among many others) report this morning of a firebombing attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The magazine issue in question was going to feature a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on the cover and a satirical editorial penned by the Prophet Mohammed. The issue in question had not even been published nor distributed. The public had not yet seen the cartoon that the magazine was about to publish. As the Editor-in-Chief of Charlie Hebdo, Stephane Charbonnier, explained in an interview with the BBC, the extremists took their action based on rumors.read more
On September 15, 2011, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged on national television to repeal the Internal Security Act of 1960 (ISA), and, to institute an official review of the Restricted Residence Act of 1993 (RRA) and the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984 (PPPA). Is the announcement by Prime Minister Razak a sincere step towards reform or an insincere election year promise? Cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, aka Zunar, in his work and in a written statement to CRNI says the Prime Minister's pledge is "just a lip service and PR exercise" in the run-up to likely November elections.read more
Cartoonists Rights Network International thanks all the volunteers who donated their time and efforts, all the talented cartoonists who donated their artwork, and all the fans of cartoons who championed our local youth and everyone's free speech rights. Thank you so much making the 2011 Cartoons & Cocktails Charity Auction a fun and successful event.read more
The 24th Annual Cartoons & Cocktails Auction, the largest auction of editorial cartoons in the United States, will be held on October 20, 2011, from 6 PM to 9 PM at the Newseum in Washington, DC. This is will be your chance to bid on and buy original artwork while benefitting two very worthy non-profit organizations: Cartoonists Rights Network International and Young D.C.read more
According to Indian cartoonist Satish Acharya, shortly after he posted on his blog a cartoon poking fun of Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar and many days after the cartoon appeared in the September 5th edition of the newspaper Mid Day, Senior Police Inspector Mukund Pawar of the Cyber Branch of the Mumbai Police, citing a criminal provision, asked Satish to remove the cartoon from his personal blog.read more
Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric and senior Al Qaeda (or al-Qaida) leader, and Samir Khan, the co-editor of the English language Al Qeada magazine Inspire, were killed early September 29, 2011, by a joint CIA-United States military drone strike in the Yemeni town of Khashef. At a ceremony at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, President Obama confirmed the targeting of the two American born Al Qaeda militants.read more
The English language newspaper the Hurriyet Daily News reported on Wednesday, September 28, 2011, that Turkish cartoonist Bahadir Baruter "will be put on trial for a caricature he drew in which he renounced god."read more
Indian cartoonist Harish Yadav, better known by his pen name Mussaveer, was arrested at his home in Malharganj on September 27, 2011, for insulting the religious beliefs of Muslims, and then released the following day on bail. Mussaveer was arrested for a cartoon poking fun of Chief Minister Narendra Modi's refusal to wear a skull cap presented to him by a Muslim cleric. Mussaveer was arrested under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code which prohibits the "deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs."read more
On September 26, 2011, Dr. Robert "Bro" Russell, our Executive Director, at the invitation of the International Press Institute (IPI), led a panel discussion in Taipei, Taiwan at the IPI's 2011 World Congress. Titled "Innovations in Political Cartooning - How Editorial Cartoonists Are Reinventing Themselves and Promoting Press Freedom," the panel discussion included presentations by The Economist cartoonist Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher, animation entrepreneur Michael Logan with Taipei based company Next Media, and, South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, who goes by the pen name Zapiro.read more
Three men accused of plotting to kill Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and to attack an office of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, were charged in Norway on September 26, 2011, with, "conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack in northern Europe," said Prosecutor Geir Evanger. Mikael Davud, a Norwegian of Uighur origin, Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, an Iraqi Kurd residing in Norway, and David Jakobsen, an Uzbek also residing in Norway allegedly plotted to kill Westergaard and to bomb an office of Jyllands-Posten. Arrested in June of 2010, the three men are scheduled to stand trial in late October.read more
Cartoonist Rights Network International condemns in the strongest possible terms the vicious attack against Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat. Early in the morning of August 25, 2011, the sixty-year-old cartoonist was dragged from his car by four heavily armed thugs and severely beaten. Before the thugs finished their assault, they said, "This is just a warning. We will break your hands so that you'll stop drawing." They then severely injured both hands and broke his drawing hand. This is a disturbing addition to the kinds of brutality the Assad regime is employing against media professionals who are trying to keep the public informed on the important issues of the day. Ferzat is currently in a Syrian hospital with heavily bandaged hands and with stitches over one eye.read more
On April 23, 2012, Robert "Bro" Russell, the Executive Director of CRNI interviewed Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat. In May CRNI announced that Ali Ferzat and Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi would receive our 2012 Courage in Editoiral Cartooning Award. Ali was a unanimous choice of our Board of Directors for (1) daring to criticize Syrian President Bashar Assad, and, for (2) daring to publicly declare that the attack he suffered on August 25, 2011, was carried out by thugs of the Assad Regime. With Ali's consent, we now post this interview. In the interview, which appears below in both Arabic and English, Ali explains what led him to criticize the Assad Regime, gives his analysis of the situation in Syria, and recounts the brutal attack he suffered. CRNI Board Member and this year's Pulitzer Prize Winner for Editorial Cartooning, Matt Wuerker, the editorial cartoonist for Politico.com, first gives a little background about Ali in an audio interview with CRNI Deputy Director Drew Rougier-Chapman.read more