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]
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]
In the United States the public is involved in a deeply impassioned and important dialogue about weaknesses in our system of justice. In recent weeks incidents involving young black men killed in confrontations with officers from their local police departments have weighed on the nation’s conscience. In all of these situations the public has perceived that unnecessary, excessive force and a rush to judgment was used by police in situations that resulted in the death of unarmed and possibly innocent young men. In two of these cases the local prosecutor’s offices refused to indict the police officers of any kind of a crime. In one case the coroner ruled that the young man’s death was clearly a homicide. (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]