The situation regarding Palestinian cartoonist Majda Shaheen is of concern to CRNI. Ms. Shaheen has gotten repeated death threats as a result of a public campaign against her in connection with a cartoon she published on her Facebook page.
Following the cartoon’s Facebook posting, comments appeared on various online sites calling for retaliation against Ms. Shaheen, including death threats, with the official website of the Al Quds Brigade asking its followers for details of her whereabouts. One site even featured a picture of a different individual with the same name, with the word EXECUTION bannered across it.
Majda withdrew the cartoon in response to these threats, posting the following statement on Facebook: “I want to apologize for the cartoon I published about Al-Quds Brigades and Hamas. My intention was to convey an idea to you, clearly and strictly. However, there are many who prefer to deal with things superficially, rather than an in-depth understanding of the idea to be conveyed.”
With concerns about Majda’s well-being growing, CRNI has called on the Palestinian authorities to ensure the cartoonist’s safety, along with a request that those authorities take more responsibility for protecting the rights of free speech and expression for all their citizens, including editorial cartoonists and other journalists. ArabCartoon.net joined in that call, stating they will hold Hamas fully responsible for Majda’s security.
Of additional concern to CRNI is that other journalists and cartoonists in Gaza joined in condemning Majda, adding to the threat against her. While we support their right to express their own points of view on the topics at hand, we reject such personal condemnations and other forms of intimidation intended to repress the rights of others.
We will continue to follow Majda’s situation carefully, and to work with other human rights groups in the region and the Palestinian authorities on her behalf.