Magazine article New Internationalist

Dangerous Drawings: Governments Don't Get the Joke

Magazine article New Internationalist

Dangerous Drawings: Governments Don't Get the Joke

Article excerpt

Dangerous drawings

Governments don't get the joke

SYNDICATED columnist Art Buchwald once wrote that: 'Dictators of the right and left fear the political cartoonist more than they do the atomic bomb.'

For his cartoon suggesting that President Robert Mugabe might follow Mobutu Sese Seko into exile, Tony Namate has been attacked as 'treasonable, infuriating and unacceptable' by the Zimbabwe Government, and threatened with legal action.

Namate is not alone. Every year, cartoonists around the world are murdered, assaulted, jailed, sacked and banned. In 1996, Argentinian cartoonist Cristian (Nik) Dzworki was abducted, hit with a pistol and told to 'stop messing around'. In Algeria in 1995, Guerrovi Brahim was kidnapped and later found executed near his home in a southern suburb of Algiers. In Turkey, Ertan Aydin has faced nine trials since 1994 and served eight months in prison because of his cartoons.

Legislation in Croatia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and China makes it a criminal offence to satirize public officials. In Cambodia, newspapers have been instructed not to use cartoon animals to depict members of the Government. …

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