Cartoonists Are Under Fire

The New York City-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has come out with a new report that deals with the challenges faced by cartoonists across the globe. In light of the attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo last January, a report of this nature is quite timely.

The report talks about specific cases in a handful of countries including Malaysia, Iran, Venezuela and Ecuador, among a few others. The report is succinctly written and short enough to be read in one sitting. Various cartoons of the cases in question have also been included.

From threats, to summary dismissal to imprisonment and more, cartoonists across the globe are coming under fire. Others, "have fled into exile or gone to ground." As noted in the report, cartoonist Kurt Westergaard still lives under police protection due to a cartoon (of the Prophet Muhammad) which first appeared in a Danish newspaper in 2005.

The outset of the report reminds readers of the diverse struggles associated with the profession.

But with the ability of their work to transcend borders and languages, and to simplify complex political situations, the threats faced by cartoonists around the world -- who are being imprisoned, forced into hiding, threatened with legal action or killed -- far exceed Islamic extremism.

As with journalists and media freedom issues more generally, cartoonists are facing a myriad of difficulties in an array of locales. This is a significant issue that deserves more attention.