Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Cartoonists’ Legal Advisory Network

 



Cartoonists Rights Network International is pleased to announce the launch of it’s new Cartoonists’ Legal Advisory Network.


Overview

This initiative is a direct response to findings made prior to the pandemic when a consultative exercise with CRNI’s Regional Representatives identified criminalisation as their chief concern among the various threats to cartoonists’ freedom of expression.

This sentiment was echoed at September’s Press & Cartooning Global Forum, where all delegates regardless of their point of origin expressed concerns about erosion of democracy and civil liberties in their respective countries.

The period of work establishing the Cartoonists’ Legal Advisory Network has been supported by UNESCO’s Global Media Defense Fund.

Going forward from the first quarter of 2022 the Cartoonists’ Legal Advisory Network will be considered part of CRNI’s core program.

Personnel

Naturally the strength of the project will be in the quality of guidance given. To that end we have spent the past year recruiting a new panel of experts that includes practicing lawyers and academics specialising in human rights and most particularly freedom of expression as well as journalism and media, digital rights and security.

In addition to personnel from several leading NGOs we have also secured experts from a broad geographical spread and ensured gender balance. Among those lending their time to the project are:

Name

Firm, NGO etc.

Location

Louis Gitinywa Akohoudeo

Kigali Attorneys LLP

Rwanda

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Galina Arapova

Mass Media Defence Centre

Russia

Saúl Antonio Baños

Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicacion del Derecho

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El Salvador

Dr. Bea Bodrogi

Independent

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Hungary

Jiyoun Choe

Open Net

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Republic of Korea

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Ochiel J Dudley

Katiba Institute

Kenya

Herman Duarte

Simple Legal Consulting

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Costa Rica

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC

Doughty Street Chambers

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UK

Faiga W.G. Geroro

Kalchakliqs

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Papua New Guinea

Penny Karageorgi

Independent

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Germany/Greece

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Gosego R. Lekgowe

University of Botswana

Botswana

Prof. Laura E. Little

Temple University School of Law

USA

Prof. Andrés Calderón Lopez

Universidad del Pacifico

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Peru

Iain MacKinnon

Linden & Associates

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Canada

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Dr. Daniel Mekonnen

Independent

Switzerland

Michelle Mwiinga

James & Doris Legal Practitioners

Zambia

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Samuel Kofi Nartey

Law Plus

Ghana

Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga

M.O.N Legal

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Nigeria

Aditi Saxena

Human Rights Law Network

India

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Please note this is not an exhaustive list; we respect our experts’ rights to privacy and anonymity.

CRNI is grateful to IFEX, Media Matters, and Ms Gallagher at DCS for their assistance in assembling our panel. Please note that a series of interviews with some of these Legal Experts will be published on our blog from this week.

Publicity

When first embarking with this project with UNESCO it was assumed that there would be an opportunity for promotion of this new network at international cartoonists’ events. The continuing effects of the pandemic and the necessary restrictions on travel stymied those plans.

I certainly hope there will be opportunities to speak with cartoonists next year, but in the meantime all promotional activity shall be online. 



Confidentiality & New Reporting Mechanism

A dedicated email address specifically for inbound requests for legal guidance has been set up: legal@cartoonistsrights.org

Our colleagues’ shared anxiety about the threat of criminalisation is real and well founded. I feel that CRNI is duty-bound to respond and with this new mechanism we’ll help cartoonists get swift and relevant guidance.

Of course, I am well aware of the excellent work already being done by other organisations and know that many cartoonists have enjoyed first-class legal support in the past; indeed, some of our recruited experts have been responsible. We are not alone in this battle and will continue to work in partnership with others.

But of most concern to me are the cartoonists who have never had cause to use a lawyer before and who suddenly find themselves taken to a police station or in receipt of a court summons without a clear idea of what will happen next or who they might rely on. 

I hope that they come to think of this network as their first contact when it is needed.


Terry Anderson 
Executive Director
Cartoonists Rights Network International
#7272, Fairfax Station, VA 22039-7272, USA

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