Tuesday, June 06, 2023
CARTOONISTS DEFEND OUR RIGHTS. WHO’S THERE FOR THEIRS?
DAMASCUS: Editorial cartoonist Ali Farzat is abducted by armed and hooded men believed to be of the mukhabarat – Syria’s security police. He is so severely beaten that his one eye is damaged and his fingers and hands are broken “as a warning” against his caricatures depicting President Bashar al-Assad and his regime as tyrants.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA: Long form cartoonist ‘Jamón y Queso’ is arrested by police on charges of counterfeiting, and spends almost six months in the notorious Black Beach Prison until all charges are dropped when the court learns that the accusations were ordered “from above” – most likely in response to cartoons he had drawn in criticism of the dictatorship.
AUSTRALIAN authorities trawl the oceans, netting “illegal immigrants” seeking a better life, and imprisoning them without rights and under inhumane conditions in detention camps on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Incarcerated there for seven years, Iranian cartoonist ‘Eaten Fish’ battles mental health and physical abuse as he campaigns – through his drawings – for his own release and that of his fellow inmates.
In IRAN, a cartoon by Atena Farghadani depicts members of parliament as animals as they vote for a bill that would further reduce women’s rights. She is arrested, charged with “spreading propaganda”, and sentenced to over 12 years imprisonment – reduced to 18 months on appeal. During her incarceration she is strip-searched, beaten and verbally abused by guards. She is also subjected to virginity and pregnancy tests after shaking the hand of her lawyer. They are both charged with “indecent conduct”. She amounts a hunger strike and suffers a heart attack in prison.
NICARAGUA: Subjected to a growing number of personal threats as a result of his cartoons exposing the brutal regime, Pedro Xavier Molina is eventually forced into exile in fear for his safety, after police kill a journalist, detain two others, and ransack the offices of the publication he works for.
DENMARK: Twelve editorial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad spark a global response subjecting the cartoonists to state sponsored death threats (fatwas) and a decade long global frenzy of violence including the burning of embassies, bombing of churches and other riotous acts of terror, resulting in the reported loss of 250 lives and 800 wounded worldwide, culminating in an attack in FRANCE where twelve people are murdered including the authors of subsequent Muhammad cartoons.
These are but a few examples of the threats faced by editorial cartoonists around the world whose rights we continue to champion.
CARTOONISTS RIGHTS was founded by Bro Russell in 1999 as a non profit organization to protect the rights of editorial cartoonists under threat. Ours was the first global organization whose core purpose is the protection of cartoonists rights in the pursuit of freedom of expression without fear. If you appreciate the need for cartoonists to continue to speak truth to power please join our campaign as a Cartoonist Defender follow our socials below and if you are able to; make a donation to help the cause.