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Cartoonists in peril

July 15, 2009 in Comment

najialaliCartoonists in this country might be feeling the pinch at the moment, but at least they don’t work under the threat of arrest, assault or even death.

In Honduras recently, cartoonist Allan McDonald (interview) was detained for 24 hours, had his studio ransacked and cartoons and drawing materials destroyed following the publication of several cartoons supporting ousted president Manuel Zelaya.

Similarly, in Mexico cartoonist Mario Robles was recently given the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning by the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) after a cartoon mocking a crackdown on public demonstrations led to death threats and an assualt.

In Iran, cartoonist Behzad Basho is being held in prison following the recent post-election uprising, and fellow Iranian Nik Kowsar is currently living in exile in Canada following arrests and death threats.

These threats and assaults are nothing new – in 1987 Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali (previously in Bloghorn) was murdered outside the London offices of a Kuwaiti newspaper. A collection of his cartoons, A Child in Palestine, has recently been published in the west for the first time.