The 2017 Press Freedom Index world map shows alarming levels of red and black, the colors used to indicate a severe or even total lack of press freedom. Countless journalists, many cartoonists among them, face a daily struggle against regimes that try to silence them. Today is World Press Freedom Day, and to mark this day we have selected 10 cartoons that remind us of the power of the media, the responsibility of the media, and the importance of press freedom for freedom in general.
1. Spotlight on Corruption
The main role of the media is to be a check on power, Victor Ndula reminds us. Journalists keep watch to ensure that politicians keep their hands out of the cookie jar.
2. Media Control
But to do that job, a free, independent and diverse media is vital. Because who controls the media, controls the people. Cartoon by Alfredo Garzon.
3. Erdogan's Press
Many authoritarian regimes claims to support press freedom, a claim often contradicted by the inside of their prisons. Cartoon by Vasco Gargalo.
4. Why is Erdogan Afraid of Cartoonists?
But why are authoritarian leaders so afraid of press freedom? Could it be the damage sharp pencils and pens might inflict on inflated egos? Cartoon by Tjeerd Royaards.
At present, Turkey is perhaps the most notable example of media oppression. Cartoonist Musa Kart and his fellow journalists have now spent over 6 months in jail. Cartoon by Antonio Rodriguez.
6. Compliant Press
Dictators would prefer a more supportive, compliant media, says Italian cartoonist Tomas.
7. Journalism & Terrorism
Another group that hates any kind of freedom, including freedom of the press: extremists. Cartoon by Emad Hajjaj.
But oppression and extremists are not the only threat facing journalism. Fake news is undermining the trust that is fundamental for media to function properly. Cartoon by Dariusz Dabrowski.
9. Ostrich Journalism
And media themselves have a huge responsibility to continuously search for the truth, to tell stories that need to be told, not just those that people want to hear, or that fit their chosen narrative. Cartoon by Latif Fityani.
Journalism is still a dangerous profession, but arguably more important now than ever before. Cartoon by Shlomo Cohen.
If you want to see even more cartoons on press freedom, visit our cartoon collection.