“The tyrants of this world have taken advantage of the turbulence of the period 2020-2023 (pandemics, wars, diplomatic tensions, digital disinformation, etc.) to tighten their grip on the media, and in particular on press cartoonists”
notes cartoonist Kak, President of Cartooning for Peace, in his tribune published in the French newspaper Ouest France on 28 September.
Russia, Türkiye, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iran, Cuba, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, India… So many countries and so many cases of censorship of cartoonists that deserve our attention.
As Matt Wuerker, President of Cartoonists Rights, points out
“These are not easy times for journalists and the free press, and that goes double for the courageous cartoonists with whom we work, many times under the heel of some of the most despotic and humourless bullies imaginable”.
Given the convergence of their missions and their constant efforts to help cartoonists, Cartooning for Peace and Cartoonists Rights have joined forces to produce this report, which presents the main challenges facing cartoonists in terms of freedom of expression that their monitoring and support work has enabled them to identify.
Although not exhaustive, this report is based on analyses and case studies from the period 2020-2022. It highlights the increase in State censorship in authoritarian regimes, the rise in online violence and hatred towards press cartoonists and their ever-increasing and disproportionate criminalisation, not to mention the difficult situation of exile that recent conflicts have exacerbated. Based on these observations, the report sets out recommendations for the protection of cartoonists.
Produced as part of the project “Enhancing legal support to press cartoonists in the digital age (2022-2024)” implemented by Cartooning for Peace and supported by UNESCO’s Global Media Freedom Fund (GMDF) and the Isocrates Foundation, this work, enriched by numerous contributions, has also benefited from the support of the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation and the World Forum for Democracy.
The report will be launched on 7 November 2023 during the Forum Talk 9: “Cartoonist: an endangered profession” organised as part of the next World Forum for Democracy at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
The report is intended to be accessible to as many people as possible and will be available for free downloading from the Cartooning for Peace and Cartoonists Rights websites from the above mentioned date.
To coincide with the release of the report, Cartooning for Peace is also announcing the forthcoming release of three episodes of the podcast series “Tough Laugh x Tough Law”, produced by Emanuele del Rosso and Federica Testi. The episodes will embody the message of the report through the testimonies of cartoonists who have been subjected to attacks on their freedom of expression in the course of their work.
Cartoon: Hassan (Iran)