The editorial cartoon is a dependable measure of press freedom in a given country. As advocates point out, a cartoonist cannot work when there is no freedom of speech and opinion. Two cases illustrate the point.
In the early months of the Syrian revolution, editorial cartoonist Ali Ferzat was threatened and eventually attacked for drawing cartoons making fun of President Bashar Al-Assad. The thugs broke both of his hands. But crackdowns on the free expression of editorial cartoonists don’t just happen in dictatorships.
In India, Aseem Trivedi is well known for drawing hard-hitting anti-corruption cartoons. But last year, he was arrested for allegedly insulting India’s national flag and parliament. He was jailed for more than a week.
Both Trivedi and Ferzat were undeterred. And they jointly received the Courage in Editorial Cartooning award from the Cartoonist Rights Network International. This week on Global Journalist, we’ll talk with the director of the international network, along with the president-elect of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. They’ll describe a profession experiencing a major transition, with both positive and negative consequences.
Mark Fiore, president-elect of Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
Dr. Robert "Bro" Russell, executive director of Cartoonists Rights Network International