February 22, 2015 in News
RECENT EVENTS have underlined the precarious nature of many cartoonists’ work. Living in a world where a graphic comment on a delicate situation can result in studios being invaded by machine-gunning terrorists or public discussions being ambushed by rifle-toting madmen, cartoonists along with journalists and other public commentators find themselves in the front line of defence of freedom of speech.
While the book Draw the Line Here, conceived by English Pen (the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation’s only role in this project, albeit the key one, is to provide the cartoons), is entering the final production phase under the management of Crowdshed, another organisation with similar activities is worthy of publicty.
Cartoonists’ Rights Network International “defends the creative freedom and human rights of editorial cartoonists under threat throughout the world”.
“One face of our success
Nikahang “Nik” Kowsar’s story is typical of the brave editorial cartoonists CRNI fights on behalf of throughout the year. In February of 2000, he was arrested and interrogated for six days at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. His crime? Drawing a cartoon critical of a politically powerful imam. CRNI subsequently gave Mr. Kowsar our 2001 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning, drawing international attention to his plight.
By 2003, his situation had become untenable. He was forced to flee after credible death threats, leaving behind his wife and daughter. After he was safely settled in Canada, CRNI and other human rights organizations continued to assist Mr. Kowsar during his five-year fight to bring his family to join him, which he finally won in 2008.
Since then Nik has redoubled his dedication, creatively and professionally, to the cause of freedom of expression globally, as well as in his native Iran. This fervent lifelong commitment includes serving on CRNI’s Board of Directors, where his passion has been as invaluable as his personal experience.
Cartoon by Nikahang “Nik” Kowsar: Nikahang.blogspot.com”
The CRNI is launching an indiegogo campaign to raise $40,000 for its ongoing operations. Click here to see the details.