Pens and swords

May 15, 2010 in Comment

Andy Davey writes:
Satirical cartoons are loved and hated, usually by different groups of people. Loved by the powerless, hated by the powerful … and a good rule of thumb is “the more tightly held the power, the more hated the cartoonists”.

The Cartoon Rights Network collects tales of poor treatment, intimidation, torture and imprisonment of cartoonists from across the world. Presently high on this unhappy list is Sri Lanka, where anti-government journalist and political cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared on January 24 this year. He is still missing. Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka has a report on his story.

We are extremely lucky in the UK to have a healthy love of scurrilous graphical political satire which stretches back more than 200 years and has made the governing classes aware of its persistent powers of mockery and scorn. PCOer Martin Rowson describes the facility to “stick it to power” from a distance as  a sort of voodoo.  Roger Law, creator of Spitting Image has made an extensive tour of British satire during his career and this is reflected in his recent BBC Radio 4 programme called  Satire – The Great British Tradition. This series comes as a happy prelude to a big show planned for Tate Britain later this summer. It is called  Rude Britannia and it is expected to cover much of the same interesting territory.


1 response to Pens and swords

  1. Today’s glimpse of the obvious suggests that this sort of ruthlessness puts any democratic indignation about the Torylib stitch – up in the UK into perspective. And Mr Ekneligoda’s disappearance is not down to religious flakies, just blokes with bigger guns, like those being discharged in Bangkok just now.

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