Tune in tonight at 6PM CET for another episode of Satire Talks Live. Social media manager Emanuele Del Rosso hosts a live chat on our Instagram channel every two weeks, talking to different cartoonists around the globe. The talks focus on satire, censorship, copyright and other issues that pertain to political cartoons. Tonight he talks to Paulo Jorge Fernandes, Auxiliar Professor at NOVA FCSH doing academic research on satire and editorial cartoons.
One of the projects we're currently working on is a series of comics on public authority in Africa, commissioned by the Africa Centre of the London School of Economics. The comics are based on field research in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone and South Sudan. We are currently in the storyboarding phase, where the artists have made rough drafts of the story to get a feel for the story flow and the visuals.
We try to make the comics as authentic as possible, working close with the researchers (who know the subject matter intimately), using a lot of reference photographs, and trying to incorporate as much of actual dialogue from the field research as we can. Although at first glance the topic of public authority can seem a bit dry, the stories we are trying to tell are fascinating.
One narrative is about vigilante justice in Uganda. A village is plagued by crime and has no funds to set up a police presence; the local council enlist a group of youths to patrol the streets and things go downhill from there...
Another narrative takes place in Palabek Refugee Settlement, also in Uganda. Here, a woman is accused of witchcraft. The authorities in the camp fail to take adequate action; violence ensues as the community feels they have to take matters into their own hands.
Storyboard fragment of 'A poisoning in Palabek' - Story by Ryan Joseph O'Byrne, art by Charity Atukunda
Other narratives that are currently worked on deal with the formal and informal economy in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis and the precarious situation of people living next to Virunga National Park in DRC. The full series will be six comics of eight pages each, which will be published on Cartoon Movement later this year and early next year.
Our newsletter for June is out! Read about what we've been up to in the last month, including our emergency statement because threats to cartoonists are on the rise, cartoon projects for new international media platform 5 and the most popular cartoons. If you would like to receive a monthly update, subscribe!
We are delighted to announce we have a brand new website! Our old website was created in 2010, so it was definitely time for an update. The look & feel may have changed, but many of our features are still the same, and some are improved. In this post, we explain some of these improvements and changes in how the site works.
One of the biggest improvements is that the site is now fully responsive, allowing you to view our cartoons on your smartphone with ease. On our homepage, we still publish a daily cartoon. Browsing through the cartoon carousel at the top of the page, you can see the 20 most recent cartoons we have published. Other features on the homepage will show you the latest cartoon uploaded by our cartoonists, the most recent cartoon collection, news and recent comments.
Our old site had a newsroom where our cartoonist submitted their work. The new website simple as a section titled cartoons where you are able to see all our cartoons, listed chronologically. New cartoons will be added in real-time as cartoonists upload new work. Flip the ‘Editor’s choice’ toggle to see which cartoons were picked by Cartoon Movement staff to be featured on our homepage. If you are so inclined, you can also let us know which cartoons you like most by giving them a thumbs up.
Looking for something specific? Our new search function allows you to search for topics, countries, cartoonists, and dates. You can filter to see the most relevant search result or the most recent cartoons. And if you want to use one of our cartoons, every cartoon now includes a button that will allow you to purchase a license for use and download a high resolution image file immediately.
Some sections are still a bit bare, and will be populated in the coming week. And some features will also be added in the coming weeks. One thing that is still missing (but will be added very soon) is our section of comics journalism. In the meantime, we do hope you enjoy the new website. If you encounter any bugs, or have any other helpful suggestions, do let us know!
This week, Bolsonaro’s Justice Ministry asked the Federal Police and prosecutors to investigate cartoonist Renato Aroeira, because of a cartoon depicting Bolsonaro using a paintbrush to transform a red cross into a swastika.
Cartoonists in Brazil and other countries have made cartoons in solidarity with Aroeira. To show our solidarity, we have collected 10 of our favorite Bolsonaro cartoons here, showing his lack of regard for environment, his misguided approach to the coronavirus and his general incompetence.
Carmelo Kalashnikov - Italy
After the rainforest, Bolsonaro is now cutting down pencils, it seems.
Antonio Rodriguez - Mexico
Cartoonists are often a target of authoritarian leaders...
Rice Araujo - Brazil
...because they expose their shortcomings in one visual. In the case of Bolsonaro, he has been trying very hard to hide the true death toll of the coronavirus in Brazil.
Amorim - Brazil
Although he might just be trying to set a world record.
Anne Derenne - Spain
Of course, would-be dictators do not like to be compared...
Luc Descheemaeker - Belgium
....to other famous examples from history...
Olivier Ploux - France
Rice Araujo - Brazil
...pop culture references.
Faditoon - Norway
Also, they don't like it when their mental capacity is questioned.
Vilma Vargas - Venezuela
Vilma Vargas summaries the Bolsonaro presidency as 'darkness and regression', in stead of the 'order and progress' featured on the Brazilian flag.
Cartoon Movement, Cartoonists Rights Network International and Cartooning For Peace warn that amid 2020's pandemic the global community of cartoonists could be irrevocably damaged. Economic depression will lead to losses but far worse is deliberate action repressing free expression.
Cartoon Movement, Cartooning for Peace and Cartoonists Rights Network International appeal for aid.
Fears of extreme difficulty ahead for cartoonists as the coronavirus pandemic worsens existing trends toward authoritarianism, censorship and intolerance.
Cartoon Movement, Cartooning For Peace and Cartoonists Rights Network International welcome last week’s statement made by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, European Federation of Journalists and the Media Freedom Rapid Response consortium calling attention to problems faced by cartoonists in Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, The Netherlands, Sweden and elsewhere.
In particular we object in the strongest possible terms to both:
- interventions from ambassadors and other top-level national and international representatives calling for the dismissal or censure of cartoonists
- and mass targeting of cartoonists via social media, apparently encouraged if not actively organised by bad actors
On at least two recent occasions such public over-reactions have led directly to death threats against the cartoonists in question. It is a scant five years since the attacks at Charlie Hebdo; death threats against cartoonists are still regarded with the utmost seriousness by police forces across Europe and lead to great levels of distress for those so threatened as well as their families.
But this report from within the EU covers only part of the picture. In the last two months we have also seen cartoonists arrested, threatened, subjected to cyber attack or court action originating in Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Palestine, Peru and Uganda (see list below). And these are only the incidents that we can safely acknowledge. There is more; CRNI says that from late March through early May there have been twice over the usual number of incidents reported. This spike in cartoonists experiencing violations of their human right to free expression comes at the same time as the economic downturn. The vast majority of editorial cartoonists are self-employed and while some nations have extended relief in the form of grants to that sector, most have prioritised helping businesses and other organisations with payroll for employees. Even among the minority of cartoonists who have a relationship with a news media outlet, we've heard many describe being furloughed, dismissed entirely or warned by editors of rapidly diminishing revenue. The inevitable consequence will be a reduction in the numbers of cartoonists pursuing their careers.
We do not suggest that cartoonists are uniquely or especially troubled during this crisis. Journalists, commentators and artists of every description are encountering a newly hostile and difficult working environment; we note that Index on Censorship’s tracker has over one hundred and fifty incidents related directly to coverage of COVID-19 over the same period.
However we do recognise – through long experience in the matter – that cartoonists are often among the first to feel the effects of such a crisis, to the worst extent and yet can be overlooked thereafter. Not every incident we have seen since the start of 2020 can be explicitly linked to the health crisis. But we cannot escape the reality that an already bad situation can only be worsened by coronavirus, as new laws and emergency measures have an accumulative effect in favour of the forces of repression.
In their special collaboration with Courrier International last December, Cartooning For Peace described 2019 as “une année noire”. Every phenomenon mentioned: the notable emergence of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism in all regions; dwindling opportunities as news media dispense with cartoonists, citing falling revenue; and the deleterious effect of social media on the public’s sensitivity to “offensive” material will be exacerbated in the wake of COVID-19. If 2019 was “black”, 2020 could prove to be an utter void.
Terry Anderson, Executive Director of CRNI said: “In a recent poll our regional representative cartoonists cited criminalisation as their top anxiety. The current global crisis is has emboldened regimes that seek to censor dissenting or contrarian voices. We’re seeing it in Bangladesh with the arrest of Ahmed Kabir Kishore and others, whose open scepticism about the measures taken there is being spun as dangerous misinformation."
“We need to be very careful we’re not sidelined in the effort against ‘fake news’”, adds Cartoon Movement’s Editor-In-Chief, Tjeerd Royaards. “Who arbitrates between a sarcastic comment and a deliberate lie? We know that colleagues in Bolivia are anxious about Supreme Decree 4231, in Morocco there are worries following Law 22-20 and in France likewise after the adoption of Loi Avia. In so many places local press is already heavily censored and now social media is going the same way.”
All three organisations acknowledge the vital link to audiences that social media provides to cartoonists in nations without a free press. As changes are made by companies and in particular Facebook to address issues of public trust in their platforms, we call upon them to recognise the special status of satirical content. Cartoonists do not make flat, factual statements: they caricature, exaggerate, distil and distort, but all in pursuit of truths deeper than mere headlines can convey. They must remain at liberty to do so.
In the worst case scenario 2020 could see the global community of cartoonists irrevocably damaged. In part the circumstances are unavoidable; the economic depression will lead to the loss of many, and we have seen that attrition is already underway. But far worse, deliberate repressive action will silence yet more.
Cartooning for Peace often remind us that cartoonists are democracy barometers, as the threats they face indicate broader movements of repression that consequently affect society as a whole. As such there is a renewed urgency behind their reiterated call for solidarity and protection.
Ultimately we prefer to sound an alarm and risk being perceived as doomsayers rather than wait until a sudden surge solidifies into a trend.
We call on all governments to remember their obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially article 19, and ask that careful consideration be given to 2019’s Addis Ababa declaration for the recognition of cartooning as a fundamental right
We make most urgent appeal to anyone who has ever considered assisting in our shared mission; now is the moment, so please take action in support of cartoonists.
Download the statement here in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
Cases of note:
AUSTRALIA – dissident Chinese cartoonist Badiucao receives death threats via social media on a continuous basis, but intensified while he reported on events in China and in particular his illustrated “Wuhan diary”.
GAZA STRIP – cartoonist Ismael el-Bozom detained by Hamas personnel, spat upon, interrogated.
BOLIVIA – cartoonist Abecor receives death threats via Facebook.
IRAN – cartoons posted on social media leads to arrest of journalists.
PERU – cartoonist Carlín receives death threats over cartoon on first anniversary of former president’s suicide.
SWEDEN – Palestinian cartoonist Mahmoud Abbas subjected to mass trolling, death threats from Twitter users in Saudi Arabia.
UGANDA – cartoonist Jimmy Spire Ssentongo among those prevented from leaving coronavirus quarantine despite negative testing, resorts to hunger strike.
BANGLADESH – cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore among multiple arrests under Digital Security Act, denied bail.
HUNGARY – cartoonist Gábor Pápai accused of blasphemy and sued by ruling KDNP.
USA – cartoonist and syndicate operator Daryl Cagle writes to his congressional representative warning of collapse in industry and regression in press freedom.
SPAIN – cartoonist Miguel Villalba Sánchez’s Facebook page is summarily deleted, prevented from signing in again under his own name; cites fact-checkers under contract to Spanish government.
JORDAN – cartoonist Rafat Alkhateeb pressured to remove caricature of Prime Minister Al-Razzaz from Facebook.
June 12 is World Day Against Child Labour. We have selected some of the best cartoons on child labour from our visual archive.
Marco de Angelis - Italy
There are an estimated 152 million children in child labor.
Moshe Gilula - The Netherlands
Children are used as workers in many industries, such as producing chololate...
Niels Bo Bojesen - Denmark
Vasco Gargalo - Portugal
Elihu Duayer - Brazil
Many brands use child labor to cut down on prodcution costs and increase profit margins.
Omar Perez - Spain
Being forced to work deprives children of an education.
Vasco Gargalo - Portugal
72 million children are forced to do hazardous work.
Martirena - Cuba
In the end, child labor is not only detrimental to the individual child, it reinforces global inequality.
Studio Europa Maastricht and European Press Prize have announced the shortlist of the very first edition of the European Cartoon Award. Hundreds of cartoons were submitted to the prize and 16 cartoonists from Denmark, Italy, Romania, Spain, The Netherlands, Turkey, and the UK are nominated.
European Cartoon Award judge Janet H. Anderson:
'Editorial cartoons are a special type of commentary; they have so many boxes they have to tick in terms of visual storytelling, connection to current events, and providing a clear message. It's a tough ask! For this first ever European Cartoon Award, we judges were all aware that we would be helping to define what this category of journalism can be. What shone out of these cartoons were their sharp critiques, often very funny, of current affairs. We hope this selection helps to illustrate how important this genre of commentary is. We all want to encourage more cartoonists across Europe to enter for this fabulous prize in the years to come.'
The 2020 cartoon laureates are:
Agim Sulaj, published by Fany Blog; Mundiario
Anne Derenne, published by Cartoon Movement
Arend van Dam, published by l’Espresso
Ben Jennings, published by The i Newspaper
Cláudio Antônio Gomes, published by Courrier International
Costel Pătrășcan, published by the Representation of the EC in Romania
Hajo de Reijger, published by Pers & Prent; Cartoon Movement
Halit Kurtulmuş, published by Cartoon Movement
Gorilla, published by De Groene Amsterdammer
Joep Bertrams, published by De Limburger
Marco De Angelis, published by Buduàr; Courrier International
Mette Dreyer, published by Politiken
Victor Eugen Mihai, published by Sportul Băcăuan
Niels Bo Bojesen, published by Jyllands-Posten
Ruben L. Oppenheimer, published by De Limburger
Tomás Serrano, published by El Español
See the shortlisted cartoons here.
The European Cartoon Award was founded by Studio Europa Maastricht and the European Press Prize in 2019; the year the New York Times decided to stop running editorial cartoons. Studio Europa Maastricht and the European Press Prize aim to award courage and quality and provoke conversation on the topic of Europe.
The preparatory committee: Emanuele Del Rosso, Menekşe Çam, Vladimir Kazanevsky, Gatis Šļūka and Thierry Vissol made a first selection from the entries to present to the judges. The judges: Janet H. Anderson, Ramsés Morales Izquierdo and Simone Berghuys selected a shortlist. The winner of the European Cartoon Award will be announced at the award ceremony in Brussels on October 1st.