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Winners of the Libex 2022 competition

Jitet Kustana (Indonesia) has won the 4th edition of the Libex competition, organized by Librexpression, a center for international cartoons and freedom of speech. Cristina Sampaio (Portugal) received second prize and Niels Bo Bojesen (Denmark) third prize. You can see the winning cartoons below.

The competition’s theme was Towards the end of humanity? Since the beginning of the industrial revolution and especially since its globalization, humanity has had to face multiple challenges. Inequality, violated rights, demography, migration, poverty, pandemics, wars, power struggles and national and international hegemonies, dictatorships, fanaticism, disinformation, ignorance, are all open issues that can produce global upheavals in a short time and change the course of human history. This state of affairs jeopardizes the survival, if not of humanity, at least of our societies and the cohesion of the European Union.


Jitet KUSTANA (Indonesia)-%22affondando nelle vittime%22First prize - Jitet Kustana


Cristina SAMPAIO (Portogallo)-%22Guerra%22Second prize - Cristina Sampaio


Niels BO BOJESEN (Danimarca)-%22Estinzione%22Third prize - Niels Bo Bojesen

281 cartoonists from 63 countries submitted 490 works to the jury. The jury was composed of Fabio Magnasciutti (Italian cartoonist), Marilena Nardi (Italian cartoonist), Tom Janssen (Dutch cartoonist), KAP (Jaume Capdevilla, Catalan cartoonist), Raffaella Spinazzi (Italian blogger) and chaired by Thierry Vissol (director of Libex). On the basis of four criteria: technique, originality, relevance and irony, the jury selected 55 works by artists from 30 countries, the 10 finalists and the 3 winners.

The exhibition of the 55 semi-finalist cartoons will be open to the public until 31 December, in the cloister of the San Benedetto monastery in Conversano, Italy.

Laughing Matters? Humor and Free Speech in the Digital Age

If you are interested in our project Cartoons in Court, we recommend you join the online event Laughing Matters? on October 14, from 10.15am to 5.15pm ET (New York). The event is co-sponsored by Temple Law School, the University of Groningen and the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

Negotiating the legal boundaries of free speech is a crucial challenge for democracy—especially so in the digital age, as potentially harmful material can easily gain pervasive circulation (Brison and Gelber 2019). Humor is a particularly demanding testing ground in this respect; while the right to humorous expression is vital to democratic societies, jokes can sometimes become a vehicle for unlawful speech, such as defamation or incitement to violence. This problem is further amplified today by the growing fragmentation of ‘irony-laden internet subcultures,’ where the difference between e.g. racist humor and satire of racism often becomes imperceptible (Nagle 2017).


Hate_speeching__glen_le_lievre copyCartoon by Glen Le Lievre

Despite the urgency of these issues, the approach to humor in free speech jurisprudence is still notably inconsistent—not only across different contexts, but also within the same given judicial system. In his analysis of satire-related case law from the United States, for example, legal scholar Jeff Todd lamented the lack of ‘an adequate terminology that is grounded in theory,’ which complicates the task of ‘clarify[ing] and rationaliz[ing] the different outcomes’ reached in court (Todd 2016; see also Little 2019). Other studies have highlighted a similar degree of inconsistency in humor jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights (Godioli and Little 2022; Alkiviadou 2022) and Brazil (Capelotti 2015).

In order to tackle these challenges, interdisciplinary collaboration between practicing lawyers, legal scholars and humanities-oriented humor researchers takes on heightened importance. Also crucial are comparative endeavors mapping the juridical handling of humor across different regions. Aiming to set a foundation for further collaboration in both directions, this symposium will feature a series of short presentations on current issues and ongoing projects, followed by an open Q&A at the end of each panel.

Check out full program and speakers, and register as a guest here.



Editorial: portraying extreme right in cartoons

Nazis__marian_kamenskyCartoon by Marian Kamensky

The win of far right political party Sweden Democrats in Sweden (they won about 20% of the vote) prompted a lot of cartoons this week. Drawing cartoons about the extreme right always brings the challenge of which symbols to use. One symbol comes to mind immediately, and you probably guessed it: it's the swastika.

The swastika is problematic as a symbol for several reasons. First of all, it's the most obvious symbol you can use; Nazi-comparisons have long since lost their luster, and making use of the swastika is more often than not a sign of creative fatigue.

Second, social media (an outlet we cartoonists use a lot) doesn't like images of swastikas. Algorithms scour posts and remove them if they detect swastikas, and complaints by other users frequently result in removal of these cartoons as well.

Should we not use the swastika at all, then? I think, at times, the use of this symbol is still valid, but we should be very careful where, when and how to draw it.

For example, I love this cartoon by Dan Murphy, commenting on the Swedish election result. It's a funny spoof on an Ikea ad, but with serious reflection at the heart of the cartoon. It was banned from our Twitter feed in Germany, because of violating their hate-speech laws.


Swedish Assembly


On the other hand, I'm not sure about these cartoons by Zap and Morad Kotkot. They are both well-made visuals, but is the swastika used as a blunt knife here?


The Sweden Democrats...

The Sweden Democrats...


To be fair, I did my own cartoon with a swastika, in which I tried to be clever, but I'm not sure I was successful enough to justify its use. This one was removed from my Instagram feed for -again- violating hate speech laws.


220915 Right-wing victory Sweden


Perhaps the most elegant example of how to make a great cartoon about the far right without resorting to a blunt knife comes from Maarten Wolterink, who has instead opted for combining Swedish mythology with a well-know representation of migrants.




I don't think any symbol should be out of bounds when it comes to satire, and social media companies should definitely be more discriminate when it comes to policing political satire. But I also think some symbols are at their most powerful when they are used the least.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor

Cuban cartoonist Carlos David Fuentes is the winner of the European Cartoon Award 2022

Carlos David Fuentes - Courrier International The winning cartoon, by David Carlos Fuentes

The European Press Prize and Studio Europa Maastricht, founders of the European Cartoon Award, proudly announce the name of the winner and runners-up of this year’s edition of the contest. The first prize was awarded to the Cuban cartoonist Carlos David Fuentes, for his work Putin in Ukraine published in the French magazine Courrier International (with first publication on Cartoon Movement). The two runners-up are cartoonists Marilena Nardi (Italy) and Harry Burton (Ireland). Honourable mentions were awarded to Jean-Michel Delambre (France) and Vasco Gargalo (Portugal).

The works of the winner and runners-up were selected from over 400 submissions, coming from 29 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: 'The jury was impressed by the powerful storytelling and striking imagery of many of the submitted cartoons. Tom Janssen rightfully said that Carlos David Fuentes' cartoon is the right image to portray this difficult year; it has a very dramatic impact, and it is very strong. Harry Burton's cartoon on abortion rights tackles a very big issue with wit, and in a clearly recognisable image. Lastly, it might seem the issue of Afghanistan slipped off the world’s agenda, but the underlying issues are still huge, and Marilena Nardi’s cartoon tells that story in a simple but very effective way.'

The cartoons of the two runners-up, Marilena Nardi (published in the Italian newspaper ‘Domani’) and Harry Burton (published in the Irish outlet ‘Irish Examiner’):

Marilena Nardi - Domani.jpg

Harry Burton- Irish Examiner

The jury decided to award two honourable mentions as well, to Vasco Gargalo and to Jean-Michel Delambre:

Vasco Gargalo - Sábado

Jean-Michel Delambre - Le Canard enchaîné

Again Janet Anderson, chair of the Panel of Judges: 'Jean-Michel Delambre’s cartoon treats the subject of the Ukraine invasion in a humorous way, all the while driving home a point, and a very important one. Vasco Gargalo’s lollipop cartoon is about an issue that is still affecting much of the world, and for its shocking reminder, the jury decided to award it with a special mention.'

The jury of the European Cartoon Award 2022 was composed of: Tom Janssen (2021 winner), Janet Anderson, Catherine André, Jen Sorensen, and Niels Bo Bojesen. And, for the first round of selection, a jury composed of four previous year’s nominees joined the voting: Osama Hajjaj, Saeed Sadeghi, Konstantinos Tsanakas, and Vitor Neves.

After 2 rounds of evaluation, the two juries identified a batch of 16 cartoons that qualified for the final selection. Here is the list of the 16 nominees the cartoons belong to: Toso Borković (Serbia), Dave Brown (UK), Harry Burton (Ireland), Hajo de Reijger (Netherlands), Jean-Michel Delambre (France), Carlos David Fuentes (Cuba), Vasco Gargalo (Portugal), Emad Hajjaj (Jordan), Silvano Mello (Brazil), Marilena Nardi (Italy), Pierre Pauma (France), Tjeerd Royaards (Netherlands), Gatis Šļūka (Latvia), Matías Tejeda (Argentina), Mahnaz Yazdani (Iran), Nahid Zamani (Iran).

Emanuele Del Rosso, Head of Communications at the European Press Prize and organiser of the ECA 2022: 'The incredible power of editorial cartoons is clear when we look at the sixteen works shortlisted for the final stage of the ECA, and even more, at the winners of this year’s Award. These are works that tell us a whole story in a single image. They convey multiple meanings, they make us think, and help us interpret a cultural and political reality that is harder and harder to understand.'

Editorial: defending a controversial editorial choice

2943-220902 Ukraine (De Matos)_small


This cartoon by Portuguese cartoonist Rodrigo de Matos, which ran on our homepage last week, stirred up some controversy and even made one of our Ukrainian cartoonists decide to leave Cartoon Movement. Many people consider it to be offensive to Ukraine. Although I concede in retrospect the cartoon might not be our best editor's choice of the year, I do feel the need to explain why we chose it and why I feel it is a valid selection.

First of all, a bit of context: six months have passed since Russia invaded Ukraine and interest in the war in Ukraine is slowly receding. After hundreds, if not thousands of photos and cartoons about the violence and atrocities taking place, people are getting desensitized.

Our aim with the daily editor's choice is to make people think about what's happening in the world. Since the start of the invasion, we published many cartoons that protest the war, Putin's unprovoked bloodshed and the horrors of war as they are inflicted on the Ukrainian people. But as the war continues, these cartoons are less and less effective, as people get used to them. To continue to keep the war top-of-mind, we need to find new perspectives. With Rodrigo's cartoon, we thought we did.

Then onto the cartoon itself, the imagery that Rodrigo chose to use, and our interpretation of it. In the image we see a woman who is a symbol for Ukraine. She is battered and bruised, and pregnant as well. She is a victim of Russian aggression. The baby in her belly is 'hate' as we gather from the word written there. Two horns protruding make it clear that hate is evil. Since Russia forcefully invaded Ukraine, we could conclude the woman is a victim of rape.

The imagery is sharp. But sharp imagery is what cartoons often employ to jolt people into thinking about the subject at hand. In this case, Rodrigo wants us to consider the consequence of the war. Ukraine has been brutally raped, and the (logical) result is hate. The analogy of rape and a resulting child is effective, because the consequence (hate) will be long-lasting. Even after the war ends, it will probably take decades for Ukrainians and Russians to reestablish something approaching friendly relations.

This is a prospective we had not seen in a cartoon yet, and that's why we decided to make it an editor's choice. Yes, the imagery is uncomfortable, but that is sometimes needed to effectively address an issue.

I do understand that people get upset about the image, especially Ukrainians. It's not nice to see your country portrayed as a victim of rape. But in this case we felt the chosen symbols were legitimate given the point the cartoon is trying to make. We might have been wrong (although I continue to think it's a valid cartoon) and we'll probably make our share of controversial editor's choices in the future. When dealing with editorial cartoons, this is bound to happen from time to time.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor