From Reporters Without Borders.
The shootings on January 7 in Paris and February 14 in Copenhagen showed the extent to which cartoonists are now the targets of extremist movements. In other parts of the world, it is often governments that try to silence them, using the law or violence. Reporters Without Borders is spotlighting eight cartoonists who are being threatened or persecuted because of their work.
Ferzat in Syria, Dilem in Algeria, Vilks in Sweden, Zunar in Malaysia, Prageeth in Sri Lanka, Bonil in Ecuador, Kart in Turkey and Trivedi in India – all of these cartoonists have been threatened. Some have been targeted by radical groups, others by govenments that have tried to silence them by means of arrest and prosecution. Some are under both kinds of threat.
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says freedom of expression may be restricted to ensure “respect of the rights or reputations of others” or “the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals,” but these restrictions must be proportionate in order not to violate the right to information.
At the same time, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression has stressed that the right to free speech includes the expression of opinions that “offend, shock or disturb.”
Regardless of international law, political, religious, business and military leaders and non-state groups often prove unable to tolerate criticism and derision. Censorship, dismissal, death threats, judicial harassment, physical violence and, in the gravest cases, murder are what an increasingly exposed profession faces.
Reporters Without Borders has looked at the cases of eight cartoonists who have been persecuted in connection with their work.