Cartoonists Rights Network International calls on the government of Malaysia to immediately release Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, aka Zunar, who is being held pending charges under the Sedition Act. We encourage cartoonists everywhere in the world to draw cartoons about Zunar’s situation in prison, and the government’s repeated yet always seemingly unsuccessful attempts at keeping Zunar repressed. Zunar has been invited to speak at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Switzerland in March on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ article in support of freedom of speech. He will also be launching his newest cartoon book on the very day the government has said that it would release him, February 14, 2015. We call upon all responsible embassies in Kuala Lumpur to send their representatives to the book launching as witnesses to monitor what actions the Najib government might take against him. Je suis Zunar. [Full Story]
Ecuadorean cartoonist Bonil (Xavier Bonilla), who cartoons for the Guayaquil-based daily El Universo, has gone on trial for a cartoon published on August 5th, 2014. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, publicly declared the cartoon “racist” because the cartoon’s political subject, ex-footballer Augusín Delgado, is black. The charge now being considered by Ecuador’s Superintendency of Communications (Supercom) is “socio-economic discrimination.” President Correa’s antagonism towards the press is well-documented. Correa’s actions against Bonil’s paper in 2010 was cited by the New York Times as a “campaign to silence and bankrupt El Universo, Ecuador’s largest newspaper” and condemned by Reporters Without Borders. [Full Story]
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]
With thanks to the global cartooning community, including this cartoon by Turkish cartoonist and former CRNI Courage Award winner Musa Kart, CRNI contributor Joanne Conger has compiled a gallery of close to 500 cartoons from around the world. We will continue to update this gallery and follow the aftermath of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and with our mission to defend political cartoonists on the front lines of free speech, who are all too often the first victims of those opposed to freedom of expression. Nous sommes Charlie!
For further updates on this and other news about the plight of political cartoonists under threat worldwide, please follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook.To support our work and these brave cartoon journalists, we ask you to please consider making a monthly contribution to CRNI.
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]