Charlie is Not Alone: Seven well-known cartoonists around the world facing persecutions

UK’s newspaper, Telegraph, reports that beyond Charlie Hebdo, cartoonists around the world are facing persecution.

Telegraph (source) reports: “Cartoonists constantly face persecution, death threats and abuse worldwide and this year, the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead, showed just how dangerous their job can be. These threats are the same faced by print and broadcast journalists who report on sensitive subjects, a new report by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said.”

“Cartoonists are censored in many parts of the world and even murdered, while some have gone into exile to escape persecution simply for doing their job. Cartoons enraged many because with one image, the report said, a cartoonist is “able to communication complex political ideas in a form that is accessible and resonates with mass audiences”.”
“The report gave as an example Molly Norris, an American cartoonist who was forced to change identity, home and job after she was put on a militant hitlist. Ms Norris, who called for an Everybody Draw Mohammed Day in 2012, has not been heard from since autumn 2010, Mark Baumgarten, her former editor, told CPJ. “

Beyond Charlie Hebdo:

1 Sakda Sae-Eiaw, a cartoonist for Thai Rath newspaper who uses the pen name ‘Sia Thai Rath’ speaking to reporters before reporting to military authorities at the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok, said “I represent things in accordance with the facts,” he said. “The issues that I put in the cartoons are from daily news. I didn’t just imagine them.

2 ”Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known as Zunar, faces 43 years in prison on nine charges of sedition and hearings for his case begin on Wednesday. His cartoons have outraged the political class in Malaysia after he portrayed Najib Razak, the prime minister, as a judge with a law book in a dustbin. Zunar drew the cartoon as Anwar Ibrahim, the country’s opposition leader was charged with sodomy with other cartoons published in a 2014 book and an independent news website, Malaysiakini.

3 Kurt Westergaard, whose depiction of the prophet was in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, continued to face death threats and after the Charlie Hebdo attack, he admitted to the BBC: “I am also afraid. Fear from [attacks] will not disappear. It will be for a very long time.”

4 Arifur Rahman is an award-winning Bangladeshi cartoonist was arrested in 2007 after Muslim clerics in the country believed one of his cartoons depicted Prophet Mohammed as a cat. Mr Rahman told CPJ that following protests in Dhaka, the paper was forced to apologise and its deputy was sacked. Facing blasphemy charges, subject to fatwas and held in preemptive detention, he applied for asylum in Norway which was successful.

5 Xavier Bonilla, better known by his pen name “Bonil,” has published political cartoons for El Universo and other Ecuadorian newspapers and magazines for more than 20 years. In the last two years he has come under attack from the authorities for his satirical depictions of President Rafael Correa and other government leaders. The persecution of Bonil demonstrates the extreme and at times absurd lengths to which the Ecuadorian government will go to silence its perceived critics and restrict independent media.

6 A mural in Red Hook, Brooklyn that was painted as part of a campaign in New York and London to protest Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani’s imprisonment and subsequent added charges has been defaced with paintballs and will be taken down at the end of the month, reports Colin Moynihan in the New York Times. The mural, which is twenty-seven-feet-tall and depicts half of a woman’s face whose head is covered by a niqab, was created by South African artist Faith47 as part of a campaign spearheaded by the Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari—who was himself imprisoned in Iran for four months after the 2009 demonstrations following the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president. The owner of the building that the mural was done on gave her permission for the work to be executed and it was originally intended to stay up until October 20, but given the “extreme anger directed against [her],” Bahari and the artist who created the work have agreed to take it down earlier.

7 Meanwhile, the fall-out from the Charlie Hebdo attacks continues. “Luz”, the cartoonist who drew the first front page after the attacks, which defiantly depicted the Prophet saying ‘All is forgiven’, has said he is leaving the magazine. The pressure had become “too much to bear”, he said. “This is a very personal choice,” he added.

The following is from Khao Sod English (source)

Newspaper Cartoonist Detained by Junta

BANGKOK — The military junta detained a cartoonist from a prominent newspaper for two hours yesterday to protest alleged inaccuracies in his works.

Sakda Sae-Eiaw, who draws daily political cartoons for Thai Rath newspaper, was summoned to report to the Royal Thai Army headquarters at 9.30am Sunday over his work. He was later released about 11.30am.

Speaking to reporters, Sakda said military officers criticized him for “content in some of the cartoons that do not represent the facts.”

Sakda said the ruling junta, known formally as National Council for Peace and Order, dispatched military officers to Thai Rath’s office Saturday to personally deliver him the “invitation.”

“The NCPO did not prohibit me from expressing my opinion,” Sakda said. “But they said that from now on, if they see that my drawings and cartoons do not represent facts, they will take legal action against me, and I will be held responsible.”

A political cartoon in Saturday’s edition of Thai Rath newspaper by cartoonist Sakda Sae-Eiaw. He was ordered to report to Royal Thai Army headquarter.

Sakda said he insisted to the military that his cartoons had “good intentions for the country.” The cartoonist also said he would “decrease” his role as a cartoonist for Thai Rath after talking with the military today.

“I will probably decrease my role a bit, because it may affect the organization that I work for,” he told reporters.

Known by his pen name Sia Thai Rath, Sakda has been drawing cartoons for Thai Rath for decades.

Since the 2006 military coup that removed then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Sakda has visibly expressed support for Thaksin and his allies in his cartoons. His pro-Thaksin stance contrasts starkly with Thai Rath’s other in-house cartoonist, Chai Ratchawat, whose work supports the anti-Thaksin faction.

Sakda has frequently criticized the military junta and its coup d’etat against the pro-Thaksin government in May 2014.

In his latest cartoon, published on 3 Oct., Sakda juxtaposited junta chairman and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, in which he affirmed respect for human rights and free speech in Thailand,

with long list of the general’s suppression of civil rights at home.

Since the military takeover in 2014, the junta has banned political activity, protests and other public displays of resistance to its regime.

It has also warned media agencies to “cooperate” with the military government, while Gen. Prayuth regularly scolds reporters questioning his rule – though the regime has stopped short of full-blown censorship of the press so far.

Sakda became the second reporter in the past month to be summoned by the military junta. On 14 Sep. a reporter for The Nation, Pravit Rojanaphruk, was summoned and later placed in three-day detention at an undisclosed location to undergo what the junta described as “attitude adjustment.” Pravit resigned from his post at The Nation a day after he was freed, citing “pressures” on the newspaper.

There has been no comment from neither Thai Journalist Association or Thai Rath newspaper about Sakda’s summon.
Speaking to reporters before he reported to the military this morning, Sakda defended his work.

“I represent things in accordance with the facts,” he said. “The issues that I put in the cartoons are from daily news. I didn’t just imagine them.”

He added, “I did put in some of my opinions, because writing cartoons is similar to being a columnist. It’s about provoking thought with your writing.”


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