Posts Tagged ‘cartoons’

Satire as a weapon: Malaysian cartoonists showed the way

April 4, 2019

Having blogged about cartoonists as human rights defenders (se e.g.https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/05/19/urgent-award-winning-cartoonist-zunar-threats-malaysia-support/), it is a pleasure to refer to a long piece in CNN  written by James Griffiths on 29th March 2019: “The cartoonists who helped take down a Malaysian prime minister”. The story is enriched by many of the cartoons that landed the cartoonists in trouble.
For Malaysians, the figure pictured (below) is instantly recognizable as Rosmah Mansor, wife of disgraced former Prime Minister Najib Razak and — according to prosecutors in the US and Malaysia — a modern day Imelda Marcos who accrued luxury goods worth millions of dollars using money embezzled from the state investment fund, 1MDB.
A cartoon of former Malaysian first lady Rosmah Mansor by Zunar is seen in a gallery in Kuala Lumpur.

A cartoon of former Malaysian first lady Rosmah Mansor by Zunar is seen in a gallery in Kuala Lumpur. Credit: James Griffiths/CNN
Zunar‘s work welcomes visitors to “Democracy in Action,” a recent exhibition that would have been impossible to stage only a year ago.
Malaysian cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, popularly known as Zunar, poses with handcuffs prior to a book-launch event in Kuala Lumpur on February 14, 2015.
Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, poses with handcuffs prior to a book-launch event in Kuala Lumpur on February 14, 2015. Credit: MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
..Just last year, it seemed almost certain that Zunar would end up in prison. A number of his books had been banned, and while his work was still widely shared online, the artist faced multiple charges of sedition and committing acts deemed “detrimental to parliamentary democracy.” Unknown assailants attacked him at a gallery show, police seized his works and he was banned from leaving the country. Then, in a shock election result, a coalition of opposition parties turfed Najib out of office, promising to clamp down on corruption and reverse the country’s turn toward authoritarianism. Now Zunar is watching as his the political figures who were once his nemeses and muses face decades behind bars themselves — in part because artists like him helped bring attention to their alleged corruption and disdain for the rule of law. “The medium of cartooning is (a) very powerful medium,” Zunar told CNN at his small studio in a Kuala Lumpur suburb. “Everywhere, in any country you go, (cartoonists) get killed. Cartoonists, get arrested, put in jail everywhere because of the medium.
Fellow artist Fahmi Reza, who also faced prosecution under Najib, said this is partly because of cartoons’ unique ability to poke fun at those in power. “Using satire and humor is effective because it breaks the fear barrier,” he said in a phone interview. “People had always been afraid to speak out. The culture of fear is always there; the culture of self-censorship is always there. That’s where satire and humor can be the most effective tool, it makes people less afraid.
In June 2016, Fahmi Reza was charged with two counts of violating section 233(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act, which forbids disseminating online content deemed to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass others. Fahmi had depicted Najib as a clown with big red lips and arched, thick eyebrows. The image quickly caught on with Malaysians sick of the widespread allegations of corruption, and it soon became a common sight at anti-government protests.
A caricature of Malaysian Prime Minister by artist Fahmi Reza. The artwork almost landed Fahmi in prison.
A caricature of Malaysian Prime Minister by artist Fahmi Reza. The artwork almost landed Fahmi in prison. Credit: MOHD RASFAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Like Zunar, Fahmi had a record of trouble with the authorities. ….. “One sign that whatever you’re doing is effective is when the authorities and people in power react,” he added. “If they ignore it, then there’s no impact. That’s how the whole clown thing became a symbol of protest — because of the overreaction by the authorities.
Both cartoonists’ arrests made international headlines, helping to highlight Najib’s growing authoritarianism to the outside world. Protesters also delighted in using the caricatures of Najib and Rosmah on posters and placards after it was revealed how much the artists had irritated them. As Malaysia’s opposition grew ever more determined to oust Najib — with many observers warning that 2016’s general election might be their last chance to do so — the government passed new legislation to control what people could say about it.
Activists hold up caricatures of Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor (center). Political art became a key tool of protest in Malaysia during Najib's rule.

Activists hold up caricatures of Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor (center). Political art became a key tool of protest in Malaysia during Najib’s rule. Credit: MOHD RASFAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
In early 2018, it introduced a new law to crack down on “fake news” that critics said was so broadly defined that it could easily be used to shut down and criminalize criticism of Najib.
Eventually however, the wave of dissent was too great for Najib to overcome. ….Since Najib’s downfall, charges against Zunar and Fahmi have been dropped, though the latter is still fighting to have an earlier conviction overturned. Both men said that, while they felt considerably freer under the new government, true reform has yet to be delivered.
For some other posts on cartoons, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/cartoons/

Sketching for freedom of expression at the Frankfurter book fair

January 8, 2019

World Press Freedom Day: a good time for honoring journalists

May 4, 2018

Yesterday, 3 May 2018, was World Press Freedom Day and many noteworthy activities took place. The Economist and many other newspapers of course paid attention with grisly statistics from the Committee to Protect Journalists and other sources. It was also a time to award courageous journalists and cartoonist; just to mention a few:

Musa Kart was announced as the 2018 laureate of the International Press Cartoon Prize by Cartooning for Peace.

The 2018 International Press Cartoon (or Drawing) Prize, presented biannually in Geneva, was awarded to the Turkish cartoonist who was recently sentenced to almost four years in prison for “aiding terrorism”. He is a 64-year-old artist working with the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet and was described as a “free spirit and a remarkable artist” by Swiss cartoonist Chappatte, a member of the jury.

It was also the day of the presentation of the first Ari Rath Prize for Critical Journalism (established to honour journalists who have rendered outstanding services to critical reporting on immigration, expulsion and asylum, committed to respect for human rights, in the spirit of the former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, who died in January 2017). Austrian journalist Alexandra Föderl-Schmid was the laureate.

Alexandra Föderl-Schmid who helped shape the daily newspaper “Der Standard” for almost three decades. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Franz Johann Morgenbesser.

For more on the many human rights awards for the media and journalists see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) partnered with the London-based International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) to commemorate World Press Freedom Day in Stockholm with an event focused on Turkey, which leads the world in the highest number of journalists in jail. According to SCF data, 258 journalists and media workers were in jail as of today, with 59 of them already convicted on dubious charges of terrorism, defamation and coup plotting. In addition, 142 Turkish journalists who were forced to go into exile or still remain at large in Turkey are wanted for arrest by authorities.

 

Nine NGOs wrote on World Press Freedom Day a joint letter expressing deep concern over the continued arbitrary detention of Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan language advocate arrested in 2016 after giving an interview to the New York Times. Tashi Wangchuk has since been tried for “inciting separatism,” a politically motivated charge that violates his rights to freedom of expression and association. [Tashi Wangchuk began raising public concern for the lack of rightful Tibetan-language education …In late 2015, he spoke with the New York Times in an interview about his attempts to promote the teaching of Tibetan; he insisted the interview be on the record. A journalist from the New York Times also accompanied him to Beijing, where Tashi Wangchuk attempted to file a lawsuit to ensure local authorities guarantee the provision of Tibetan language education. The result was an article and video documentary featured in the New York Times in November 2015.

In his article, Tashi Wangchuk insisted that his language advocacy was peaceful and non-political. His attempts to persuade the Chinese government to guarantee Tibetan language instruction were conducted through official channels and he made it clear that he was not advocating Tibetan independence. Instead, his main focus was ending the destruction of Tibetan language and culture. Despite taking these precautions, Tashi Wangchuk was arrested on 27 January 2016, held in an unknown location and later stood trial in a closed session. See also:

https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/03/07/china-and-the-un-human-rights-council-really-win-win/

 Tashi Wangchuk press freedom day ngos

 

And then there were many smaller events all around the globe that also deserves attention, such as Amnesty International Nepal voicing support to journalists as human rights defenders (such as Charan Kumar Prasai and Subodh Pyakurel and Rajan Prasad Kuikel).

———
https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2018/05/daily-chart-0 
http://www.myrepublica.com/news/41038/?categoryId=81
http://www.cartooningforpeace.org/en/
https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/world-press-freedom-day_imprisoned-turkish-caricaturist-awarded-geneva-cartoon-prize/44092346

 

https://stockholmcf.org/scf-iohr-partner-to-celebrate-world-press-freedom-day-with-a-focus-on-turkey/
https://www.vindobona.org/article/presentation-of-the-first-ari-rath-prize-for-critical-journalism
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/05/03/world-press-freedom-day-xi-jinping-release-tibetan-tashi-wangchuk-charged-nytimes-report/

FIDH looks back at 2017 with its annual comic strip

February 1, 2018

On 30 January 2018, FIDH publishes the comic strip version of its Annual Report created by graphic artist Romain Ronzeau and the graphic artists from Cartooning for Peace. Illustrating some of the victories and battles of 2017, the artists eloquently convey the essential: in times of crises, defending human rights is more necessary than ever. [for last year’s see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/03/28/fidh-looks-back-at-2016-in-comic-strip/]. Good to see that the tradition is being kept up!

On the occasion of the comic strip Annual Report’s release, FIDH reaffirms its support for all graphic artists and caricaturists who are subjected to threats and attacks on a daily basis.

 

for the full version see: https://www.fidh.org/en/impacts/fidh-looks-back-at-2017-in-our-traditional-comic-strip

FIDH looks back at 2016 in comic strip

March 28, 2017

 looks back at 2016 in its traditional comic strip, done in cooperation with Cartooning for Peace.

To see it in a readable format go to: FIDH looks back at 2016 in our traditional comic strip

 

 

 

For last year’s cartoon: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/04/04/fidh-looks-back-at-2015-with-cartoons/

Urgent: award-winning cartoonist Zunar under threat in Malaysia needs support

May 19, 2016

On 3 May 2016 Malaysian cartoonist Zunar was one of the winners of the international Cartooning for Peace Prize [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/cartoonists-gado-kenya-and-zunar-malaysia-get-2016-cartooning-for-peace-prize/].
Back home the backlash has started and he has asked for support:
– Malaysian ministers threaten him anew;
– a government-backed NGO is going to protest at Kofi Annan’s office.
The award was presented by ex-UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and the winners were given a chance to exhibit their artworks at Lac Léman in Geneva. Zunar’s cartoons covers issues such as corruption, freedom of expression, conspiracy against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and the new National Security law.
In reaction Deputy-Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi hinted that the police may take action on him. Ahmad Zahid added that he hopes that Zunar will repent and find other ways to express himself. “I think in this regard, I am seeking Allah to open his (Zunar) heart so that he quickly repents and uses other approaches to express opposing opinions,” he said ( http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/05/14/zahid-hopes-zunar-repents-criticise-but-dont-insult/ )

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2016 Havel Prize of the Human Rights Foundation goes to Atena Farghadani, Petr Pavlensky, and Umida Akhmedova

May 5, 2016

The New-York based Human Rights Foundation announced on 5 May 2016 that the laureates of the 2016 Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent are:

  • Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani,
  • Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky, and
  • Uzbek photojournalist Umida Akhmedova.
2016 Havel Prize Awarded to Atena Farghadani, Petr Pavlensky, and Umida Akhmedova

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Cartoonists Gado (Kenya) and Zunar (Malaysia) get 2016 Cartooning for Peace Prize

May 4, 2016

evenement-prix-international-presse-0

Today – in order to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day on the 3rd of May – it was announced that the 2016 International Editorial Cartoons Prize is awarded to the Kenyan caricaturist, Gado, and the Malaysian cartoonist, Lunar. Some of their cartoons are shown below:

Gado and Zunar remind us how fragile this liberty remains in Africa and in Asia as well as in other regions of the world. Through their commitment towards open and transparent societies, Gado and Zunar, who have received threats in their countries of origin and can no longer practice their profession, confront us with our responsibility to preserve freedom of expression and act in order to support the combat of those who cannot express themselves through their art”, declared Mr Kofi Annan, he Honorary President of the Swiss Foundation.

The cartoonist Patrick Chappatte, jury member, added: “For having had the courage to draw the king naked, Gado and Zunar are faced with a power machine that seeks to silence them. What this Prize seeks to do is just the opposite: to amplify their voices, which are those of democracy and justice.

This prize, awarded every two years in Geneva, rewards a cartoonist for his/her courage, talent and commitment to the values of peace, tolerance as well as for his/her fight for freedom of expression. The event goes with an exhibition presented along the quai Wilson in Geneva until June 4th, 2016. For more information, click here!

For 2014 event see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/cartooning-for-peace-award-handed-over-by-kofi-annan-in-geneva/

For the biographies: Gado and Zunar.

 

  • Gado (Kenya)
     Gado (Kenya)
  • Gado (Kenya)
    Gado (Kenya)
  • Gado (Kenya)
    Gado (Kenya)
  • Gado (Kenya)
     Gado (Kenya)
  • Zunar (Malaysia)
     Zunar (Malaysia)
  • Zunar (Malaysia)
    Zunar (Malaysia)
  • Zunar (Malaysia)
     Zunar (Malaysia)
  • Zunar (Malaysia)
     Zunar (Malaysia)

 

Source: Cartoonists Gado (Kenya) and Zunar (Malaysia), recipients of the 2016 Cartooning for Peace Prize – Cartooning for Peace

FIDH looks back at 2015 with cartoons

April 4, 2016

For the second consecutive year, the FIDH has put some of its key actions and impacts in a comic strip. These cartoons have been created in partnership with the association Cartooning for Peace, founded by Plantu. [for more posts on Cartooning for Peace see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/cartooning-for-peace/]logo FIDH_seul

Source: FIDH looks back at 2015 in our traditional comic strip

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/fidh-tells-its-2013-story-in-cartoons-and-there-is-also-cartooning-for-peace/

Rayma Suprani, female cartoonist from Venezuela, fired for mocking Chávez

June 3, 2015

Rayma Suprani, one of the few female cartoonists in Venezuela, spoke at the  2015 Oslo Freedom Forum on 26 May about the role that humor plays in resisting tyranny, and how cartoons are the thermometers by which we measure freedom. She believes that critical drawings are crucial to testing the strengths of a democracy. Suprani worked at El Universal, one of Venezuela’s largest newspapers, for 19 years before she was fired last year after publishing a cartoon that mocked the legacy of Hugo Chávez and the state of the Venezuelan health care system. She remains defiant, and reminds us that humor is the key to ending repression: we should teach our children to wield pens, not guns.