This week, David Reed with the Missouri NPR affiliate KBIA 91.3 examined editorial cartoons and freedom of expression abroad during his Global Journalist radio show. Among the topics of discussion were Ali Ferzat and Aseem Trivedi, two editorial cartoonists who have been persecuted in their home countries.
Ferzat, from Syria, was beaten and his hands broken over his satirical political cartoons. Trivedi, an Indian cartoonist, was arrested and eventually cleared of sedition charges for cartoons that were critical of India’s government. Both cartoonists were given the 2012 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award by the Cartoonists Rights Network International.
Reed was joined by Mark Fiore, the president-elect of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and Dr. Robert “Bro” Russell, executive director of Cartoonists Rights Network International. During the discussion, Reed, Fiore, and Russell discussed why cartoons draw the ire of political figures and how censorship abroad differs from censorship in the United States. Around the 9:00 mark, Russell begins describing the dire situations that some cartoonists in the Middle East and Southeast Asia are currently facing, including physical and legal harassment and situations in which the cartoonists’ very lives are at risk. Reed, Fiore, and Russell further discuss how some areas that have traditionally censored cartoonists are seeing a resurgence in editorial cartoons, in large part because of the internet and social media.
You can listen to the entirety of the fascinating conversation about international and domestic censorship here.