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]
The staff and Board of Directors of Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) are horrified by the attack against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Our hearts and thoughts are with the survivors and the families of those whose lives were taken in this senseless act of weakness. Dr. Robert Russell, Executive Director of CRNI, was quoted as saying, “Cartoonists are among the first people targeted by extremists and fundamentalists for poking fun at the sacred cows of our societies. Humor and satire are tools that close-minded extremists have little defense against except by the use of weapons and murder.” We are in awe at the courage of the French cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, we look forward to the next issue, and admire the society and environment that promotes this level of free speech. They are our heroes. [full story]
Dr. Robert Russell is the founder and Executive Director of Cartoonists Rights Network International. Dr. Russell’s lifelong commitment to human rights and dignity began as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1960’s. He went on to spend over two decades in Africa and Asia as a consultant in institutional development and humanitarian assistance. After founding CRNI in 1999, he has served as the organization’s Executive Director.
In 2012 the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists presented Dr. Russell the Ink Bottle award, for his outstanding contributions to the profession of editorial cartooning. When he’s not working on furthering CRNI’s mission and influence, “Bro” (as his friends and colleagues call him) is an enthusiastic student of the American Revolution and is as interested in the technical and human implications of space flight.
Joel Pett is a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, and winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning. He has also received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for outstanding coverage of the disadvantaged, and the 1995, 2007, 2010 and 2011 Global Media Award for cartoons on population issues.
In addition to serving as President of CRNI’s board of directors, Mr. Pett is a former President of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and serves on the board of MyBillofRights.org, the Bill of Rights Monument Project. Joel has worked at the Lexington Herald-Leader since 1984.
Carl Nelson is president of NEI Communications, Inc., a Massachusetts-based public relations firm specializing in technology products and services. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Cartoon Art Association, as well as being an associate member of the National Cartoonist Society and the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and a trustee of the Meland Foundation. Mr. Nelson has also been responsible for creating promotions for charity sponsorships that have raised more than one million dollars for the USO and the Fisher House Foundation.
Nikahang Kowsar is an internationally known editorial cartoonist, currently published via Rooz Online, Yahoo! Canada, Cagle Cartoons, and the Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate. Mr. Kowsar is an Iranian exile living in Toronto, Canada, and the 2001 recipient of CRNI’s Courage In Editorial Cartooning award. He is also a four-time winner of the Crystal Pen and Honorary Diploma award from the Iranian press, and co-founded CRN Canada.