Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh has been suspended from his job at al-Hayat al-Jadidah newspaper after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered an “immediate investigation” into one of his cartoons. The cartoon in question, published February 1, shows a robed figure sprinkling light over the globe from a heart-shaped pouch. The illustration, according to the artist, is meant to convey the benevolence of Islam but has been misinterpreted by some as a depiction of Muhammad. Saba’aneh recently served five months in an Israeli jail because of cartoons that Israel did not approve of. [Full Story]
Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, on a speaking tour in England, got word in the early hours of Wednesday, January 28, that his office in Kuala Lumpur was being raided by police. The police questioned Zunar’s staff and confiscated 155 copies of two of the cartoonist’s books. The Malaysian government has been weighing sedition charges against Zunar since November, 2014 — this despite a unanimous Court of Appeal decision a month earlier that the government had “acted unreasonably and irrationally” in banning and confiscating Zunar’s books in 2010. Reacting to the police action, Zunar told The Malaysian Digest: “The government condemned Charlie Hebdo’s attackers but now they are ‘attacking’ me.” [Full story]
As people the world over gathered in solidarity with the 12 killed at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, there is evidence of a continued campaign of violence directed towards cartoonists and satirists. A newspaper in Germany which had reprinted several of the controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons was firebombed Sunday, January 11, in possible retaliation. And in Turkey, journalist Pinar Tremblay of Al-Monitor reports of threats referencing the Hebdo killings targeting that country’s cartoonists and satirical magazines. One satirist reports being told to watch the news coverage of Charlie Hebdo’s slain cartoonists “to take a sneak peak at my own future.” [Read more]
In his July 3rd cartoon for the Jakarta Post, Stephff (Stefane Peray) depicted an ISIS operative hoisting an ISIS flag on which the flag’s design morphs into a skull and crossbones. On December 12th, five months later, police announced that Jakarta Post editor Meidyatama Suryodiningrat could be charged under Indonesia’s much-criticized blasphemy laws because of the publication of that cartoon. [full story]
The Malaysian government has expanded its efforts to silence Kuala Lumpur-based cartoonist Zunar. On November 20, Zunar wrote “Today I was questioned for about 45 minutes by the police regarding my new cartoon book, Komplot Penjarakan Anwar (Plot to Jail Anwar) at the Dang Wangi Police Station in Kuala Lumpur. I was investigated under the ‘Classified Crime Section’ involving three different laws. The laws are: (A) Printing Presses and Publications Act, (B) Sedition Act, (B) Penal Code. Two separate police reports were made against me in two different police stations regarding the production of the book. Throughout the investigation session, I refused to answer any of the 27 questions asked by the police. In the latest development, the police have asked the online payment gateway that handles my book transactions to disclose the list of customers who have purchased my books through my official website, zunar.my.” [ full story ]
Meanwhile, Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart was found not guilty of “insulting through publication and slander” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a cartoon published in the daily Cumhuriyet on February 1, 2014.
These latest incidents involving Zunar and Musa Kart, both past recipients of CRNI’s Courage Award (in 2011 and 2005, respectively) illustrate the endless cycle of charges and intimidation faced even by prominent cartoonists who have successfully defended their rights … [full story: Zunar] [full story: Musa Kart]