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November 2021

Editorial: legitimate firing of cartoonists?

The divide in society between those who choose to get vaccinated and those who decline to get jabbed can be found among cartoonists as well (check our editorial from August). This month, two cartoonists in the vaccine skeptic group were fired from their publications. In one instance, I think the firing was legitimate; in the other case, I'm not so sure.

Let's start with what I think is a legitimate dismissal: UK cartoonist Bob Moran has been fired from his position at The Telegraph. Moran has been a notable critic of the UK's strategy to deal with the pandemic, the Covid vaccine and generally accepted science about corona in general. In response to our position on anti-vax cartoons, he tweeted that Cartoon Movement had positioned itself on the wrong side of history. Here an example of his work:


Moran was not fired because of the cartoons he drew, but because he used Twitter to attack an NHS doctor over Covid-19 policy, stating: 'She deserves to be verbally abused in public for the rest of her worthless existence. They all do.' He later issued an apology, but his actions deeply concerned not only the Telegraph, but many other media outlets and professionals as well. He was suspended and later let go by the Telegraph.

Moran's firing was a legitimate response, I think, because cartoonists have a responsibility not only for what they draw, but also how they conduct themselves in the public debate. As a cartoonist, especially one publishing in a major newspaper, you have a privileged position to make yourself heard. With this privilege comes responsibility, also outside of the cartoons you do for that particular publication. How much responsibility is up for debate, as we shall see when discussing the next case. But using your privileged position as a media professional to threaten other people clearly crosses a line, and must have consequences.

The second cartoonist fired this month hails from Australia. Michael Leunig was fired from his position at The Age for a cartoon he made that was published on his social media accounts. In the cartoon, he compares resistance to vaccine mandates in Victoria to the bloody Tiananmen Square massacre. After the cartoon appeared in social media, he received a call from his editor, informing him that his services were no longer required, because he was out of touch with the readership of The Age. According to Leunig, the editor told him: 'this type of cartoon is not in line with public sentiment, and The Age’s readership.' He responded: 'But my job is to challenge the status quo, and that has always been the job of the cartoonist.'




To be clear, I don't agree with Leunig's cartoon. But he has a point when he says his job is to challenge people. Furthermore, although I find the comparison with China's oppressive regime tasteless, the cartoon is not hateful or intimidating in any way. Additionally, it wasn't even published in The Age. Perhaps the editors of The Age were looking for an excuse to get rid of Leunig (who had been working there for five decades), but doing so because he made a cartoon that your readers disagreed with seems like a poor one indeed.

Cartoonists have a responsibility, and as such can and should face consequences when they cross a line in the pulbic debate. On the other hand (and I've said this before), the default response seems to be to fire the cartoonists when he or she makes a mistake (or does anything that's not in line with the editor's wishes). In some cases, such as with Bob Moran, this response is legitimate, but in many others it's not, at least in my opinion.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor

Your cartoon on a building in Johannesburg!

Calling all professional cartoonists! In a project that's not limited to just Cartoon Movement members, we're giving all cartoonists a shot at having their cartoon turned into a massive mural in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa.

We have asked young South Africans to share their vision of South Africa (hopes, fears, challenges etc.) by making a sketch.


See the sketches


Now, we are asking cartoonists to pick the best ideas and turn these into cartoons. This Thursday, we will select the best cartoon, which will be made into a giant mural on this building (the Downtown Music Hub) in downtown Johannesburg. The winning cartoon will receive 250 euro. The mural will be made by street artist Ras Silas Motse. It will be unveiled in an online event on November 11 by none other than Zapiro!




As you can see, the wall is quite tall and narrow. Please take that into account. We can also use the narrow strip on the sunside of the building, so your cartoon can turn a corner. You might be able to use this in your lay-out. This is a project with a tight deadline, so please send in your cartoons before October 28.

This project is organized and coordinated by our educational branch The Next Movement. If you have not registered as a cartoonist for The Next Movement yet, you can do so here.




Cartoon mural in Johannesburg


Citizens of South Africa,

We invite you all to share your vision, ideas and hopes about the future we need. Would you like to see your idea about the future in a professional cartoon? And would you like to see world famous cartoonists Zapiro unveil the mural in Joburg created based on YOUR idea that is co-created by street artist Ras Silas Motse?

Then go check out The Next Movement and submit your idea.

Editorial: keepin' busy

It's been a while since the last editorial as I've been swamped in projects this month. September is usually a busy time for Cartoon Movement, but this year we're even busier than usual. So I want to use this editorial to share some of the things we have been working on.

Our educational branch The Next Movement is going strong with projects in Lithuania, Cuba and Hungary, and a very exciting upcoming project in South Africa. We've been asked to help create a giant mural in downtown Johannesburg. The mural will be a political cartoon about the future of South Africa.

As with most of our educational projects, we're asking young people to come up with ideas and sketch these. Our cartoonists will pick the best ideas from South Africa's young generation and turn these into political cartoons. The next step is a first for us: to pick one of these cartoons and turn it into a mural.




Street artist Ras Silas Motse will create the amazing wall art, based on the cartoon we select. You can see an example of his work pictured above.

CM and TNM will be present in Johannesburg in the first week of November to help with the mural and to document the process. On November 10, the mural will be unveiled by none other than South Africa's best known cartoonist, Zapiro!

In the meantime, we've also been moving ahead with our comics journalism projects. We recently finished a 15-page comic on farming and new technology in Kenya, commissioned by the LSE Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa and drawn by renowned Kenyan comic artist Maddo. We share two pages below; the full comic will be published soon.


We're also working on new comics about agrocolonialism in the Democratic Republic of Congo and exploitation by Uber(-like companies) in Nairobi, Kenya.


SketchWork in progress: sketch from 'Fighting agrocolonialism in the Congo', commissioned by the University of Sussex and drawn by Didier Kassai.

And that's just a part of what we're doing. We are planning the next phase of the Evergreen satire project. We'll have more news to share soon, but you can check out a video of the launch event here. And we're launching the second season of Cartoonist 2 Cartoonist, so tune in on Tuesday October 12 at 6.30pm CEST. And, as always with C2C, if you'd like a chance to get feedback on your cartoons, send them to us at [email protected]

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor

Dutch cartoonist Tom Janssen wins the second edition of the European Cartoon Award

EU and belarusThe winning cartoon, by Tom Janssen


The European Press Prize and Studio Europa Maastricht have announced the name of the winner and runners-up of this year’s edition of the European Cartoon Award. With his work EU and Belarus published in the newspaper Trouw, the Dutch cartoonist Tom Janssen won the first prize. The two runners-up are another Dutch cartoonist, Hajo de Reijger, and the Turkish artist Musa Gumus - both published by Cartoon Movement.


It's ChineseCartoon by Hajo de Reijger


BloodCartoon by Musa Gumus


The works of the winner and runners-up were selected from almost 300 submissions, coming from 28 countries, European and beyond, by a jury composed of award-winning cartoonists, previous year’s nominees, activists, and experts.

Janet Anderson, chair of the Panel of judges:

'Editorial Cartoonists have shown us again how they make powerful political commentaries with their drawings. 2020 was the year of the pandemic in Europe, and our shortlist selection and our prize-winner inevitably reflect much of the worldwide economic, social and political debates. But in our other top choices, we wanted as a jury to also reflect on the huge political story taking place in Belarus, and the political reality of how Europe engages with what is just over its borders, and to highlight the importance of the freedom of the media and the violent threats the press faces.'

The jury of the European Cartoon award 2021 was composed of: Anne Derenne (2020 winner), Janet Anderson, Khalid Albahi, Gian-Paolo Accardo, Paulo Jorge Fernandes. And, for the first round of selection, a jury composed of five previous year’s nominees: Mette Dreyer, Claudio Antonio Gomes, Costel Patrascan, Halit Kurtulmuş, and Tomás Serrano.