CRNI announces its annual Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award.
Pedro X. Molina of Nicaragua is a long-standing proponent of freedom of expression and a tireless ally of cartoonists in trouble elsewhere. Of late he has had cause to chronicle the deteriorating condition of society under President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. As citizens took to the streets to protest, in Molina’s own words, “several years of suffering electoral frauds, selective repression, attempts to censor the internet, mismanagement of environmental disasters and the enactment of a social security law that curtails the rights of current and future pensioners” the Nicaraguan government has embarked upon increasingly brutal crack-downs.
Human rights groups’ reports differ on the scale but it is apparent several hundred have died in the violence. Despite all the unrest and direct threats and attempts at intimidation by masked paramilitaries working for the regime, Molina has continued to produce hard-hitting cartoons confronting the abuses of the Nicaraguan government. The CRNI board feels that Pedro exemplifies exactly the courageous kind of cartoonist we wish to honor with our award.
The decision to recognize Molina this year is further evidence of the lurch toward authoritarianism that has gripped nations around the world and fits the pattern of cartoonists reporting – along with their colleagues across all mass media – an increasingly hostile environment to journalism and satire.
CRNI Executive Director Dr Robert Russell said:
“I am so happy that we can recognize the incredible contribution that Pedro Molina has made to political cartooning and more generally in the field of human rights around the world. His courage in the face of credibly life-threatening incidents along with the defiance and support of his family make him a role model in the fight against tyranny and brutality. He has given us a constant flow of reports and cartoons about the plight of all Nicaraguan citizens during this very difficult period in the nation’s history.”
The 2018 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award will be presented during the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists’ annual convention, this year held at the Citizen Hotel Sacramento, California. The concluding gala will be attended by Molina, his family and representatives of the CRNI board.