The Cartoon Movement was set up and is run by Dutch editorial cartoonist Tjeerd Royaards. The blog of Cartoon Movement, the Internet's #1 publishing platform for high quality political cartoons and comics journalism, relatively new form of journalism that uses a graphic story. The mission of the Cartoon Movement is to bring different perspectives on international news events to a global..
On Friday, Canadian cartoonist Michael de Adder announced he was let go from several newspapers that are published in New Brunswick, Canada. The decision to stop publishing De Adder’s work comes right after one of his cartoons, featuring Trump and Oscar Alberto Martinez and Angie Valeria Martinez (the father and daughter wdrowned in the Rio Grande) went viral last week.
Wes Tyrell, president of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists responds:
Cartoonist Michael de Adder was let go from his job drawing editorial cartoons for all the major New Brunswick newspapers 24 hours after his Donald Trump cartoon went viral on social media, a job he held for 17 years.
Although he has stated there was no reason given for his firing, the timing was no coincidence. Michael told me once that not only were the J.D. Irving owned New Brunswick newspapers challenging to work for, but there were a series of taboo subjects he could not touch. One of these taboo subjects was Donald Trump.
Brunswick News Inc. states their decision to stop publishing De Adder’s work is not in any way related to the Trump cartoon.
As for our own response, it is exactly the same as our reaction to the firing of Chappatte and Heng from the New York Times: silencing the voice of a brilliant and influential cartoonist in any publication is a scary and shortsighted decision.
The Netherlands Sound and Vision Institute hosts the national media archive of the Netherlands. The archive also includes over 40,000 original political cartoons. Part of the mission of the Institute is to find new ways to use the contents of the archive.
One way to do this is to open up the archive to creative professionals. A lot of the cartoons in the archive can be used because their copyright has expired and they are now in the public domain. We developed a workshop for art academy students, teaching them how to use cartoons from the late 19th and early 20th century to create GIF animations that comment on issues in our time.
The language of cartoons isn’t just universal across borders and languages, it is also universal through time. Cartoons from 100 years ago use the same language as cartoons from today, and comment on similar issues such as inept politicians, power abuse and injustice.
The first workshop took place on Friday May 24 at the AKV|St. Joost in Breda. Here below you can see some of the results:
Albert Hahn. Albert Hahn + Julia Windt.
Albert Hahn, 1908.
Albert Hahn + Noortje Schuurs.
Albert Hahn + Cheyene Goudswaard. The AIVD is the Dutch secret service.
Johan Braakensiek + Anne van Wingerden: the GIF refers top the win of Frans Timmermans and the social democratic party in the EU elections, at the cost of the right-wing parties FvD (Thierry Baudet on the left) and VVD (Mark Rutte on the right).
New York Times to Stop Publishing Political Cartoons
After the cartoon controversy in April, when the international edition of the New York Times ran a cartoon featuring Trump and Netanyahu that was widely criticized as being antisemitic, the NY Times decided to stop running cartoons from the CartoonArts International syndicate.
Now, they have decided to stop running political cartoons altogether, ending contracts with their two regular cartoonists, Heng and Chappatte. Chappatte has written an eloquent, thoughtful and insightful piece about this decision on his website, which we recommend you go read.
Although the NY Times says the decision to stop running cartoons has been in consideration for well over a year, Chappatte and many other cartoonists feel this decision can be directly linked to the publication of the Netanyahu cartoon.
That makes it a scary and shortsighted decision.
Cartoons provide valuable input for public debate by condensing complex issues into one single panel. And sometimes we mess up. We use stereotypes that go too far or symbols that are needlessly hateful or offensive. And arguably the Netanyahu cartoon, made by Portuguese cartoonist Antonio Antunes, crossed the line.
In a healthy public debate (which a newspaper like the NY Times should facilitate) what then follows is a discussion about why this cartoon crossed the line. Why do many people find this cartoon so offensive? What is allowed when we criticize Israel and what isn’t? Which symbols can we use, how far can we take a caricature of a Israeli politician? All meaningful questions that would foster a debate that would lead to stronger, better and less needlessly offensive (is include ‘needless’ because sometimes cartoons need to be offensive) cartoons.
What shouldn’t happen is a complete silencing of this branch of visual journalism. Because it takes away from the public debate. It is, for lack of a better word, censorship. I use the word censorship not because of the decision itself (it is every media outlet’s prerogative to decide what they will and will not publish, however strongly I may disagree with it), but the apparent argumentation behind it.
Chappatte writes: 'I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general. We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow. This requires immediate counter-measures by publishers, leaving no room for ponderation or meaningful discussions.'
So it is a decision out of fear. And no good journalism ever came from fear. Democracy requires public debate. Media should have the courage to provide a platform for a broad range of opinions to be heard and discussed. In doing so, mistakes will happen, and sometimes a platform will be given to an opinion that does not deserve it. If this happens, we should cry foul, discuss it and hopefully learn from it. We should not use it as an excuse to silence all opinions.
We are very happy to welcome two talented new cartoonists to our community: Mr. Fish from the United States and Pedro Silva from Portugal.
Mr Fish has been a cartoonist for 25 years. His work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, the LA Weekly, the Atlantic, The Nation, The Nib, Vanity Fair, Mother Jones, the Advocate, Z Magazine, Slate.com, MSNBC.com and on Truthdig.com. He has also published numerous books and he is the subject of the documentary Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End.
Pedro Silva is a cartoonist that mainly focuses on caricatures. How works are published in Portuguese newspaper O Gainense.
Censored cartoons from all over the world, May 10 - June 9, 2019
The image is a powerful weapon. And cartoonists know how to use this weapon, wielding it to illustrate the wrongs of society. Cartoons criticize those in power, and expose power abuse and corruption. But sometimes the cartoon is so powerful that newspapers refuse to publish it. Sometimes this is justified, for instance when a cartoon is discriminating or unnecessarily offending. But other times these refusals to publish are more debatable.
In a new exhibition, organized in partnership with Libertum, a Dutch organization committed to peace and freedom, we have collected 40 cartoons that were either refused by newspapers or that caused controversy after they were published.
The exhibition can be seen until June 9, during the weekends, in the Chocoladefabriek in Gouda. CM editor Tjeerd Royaards will offer guided tours and workshops.
We are incredibly honored to be the recipient of the Evens Journalism Prize 2019, a biennial prize that aims to reward a journalist or organization whose work contributes highly to making Europe more comprehensive and accessible to a broad audience. You can read more about the Evens Foundation, the organization behind this award here.
From the jury report:
The jury reason for this year’s main prize resides in the capability of Cartoon Movement to develop a distinctive and remarkable journalistic format with a high potential for a far-reaching impact in an era where global collaborations are producing the most ground-breaking outcomes. The cooperation facilitated by this platform, allows a broad perspective on multiple pressing issues, besides an exceptional reporting quality. Diversity is guaranteed by the multitude of nationalities represented by their contributors but also by the variety of approaches and styles. Cartoon Movement supports the creation of new independent voices while stressing the importance of democratic values and ethics in the field of journalism. It knowledgeably promotes the use of humour to highlight the contradictions underlying current social concerns. Furthermore, the adoption of cartoons produces a democratising effect that makes news display immediate and accessible, irrespective of language boundaries. Thanks to these distinguishing features, Cartoon Movement positively responds to the Evens Foundation’s objective to award a laureate who could make Europe more comprehensible to a vast audience.
Cartoon Movement's editor-in-chief Tjeerd Royaards held a speech at the Difference Day gala dinner on 2 May 2019 at BOZAR–Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels:
It is a true honor for me to be here tonight, to accept the Evens Journalism Prize for 2019 on behalf of Cartoon Movement. And it feels like an award not so much for Cartoon Movement, but more an award for the cartoonists that make up our community, and who share their perspectives on the world via our platform each day.
On their behalf, I would like to extend my thanks to the Evens Foundation and to the distinguished jury for this recognition and appreciation of our work.
This award means a lot to me for two reasons.
First, it's very special because this is a journalism award. Ever since the inception of Cartoon Movement in 2010, our basic guiding principle has been that editorial cartoons are a form of journalism, and an important form at that.
Cartoonists are not always seen that way. Obviously they do not meet the journalistic requirement of objectivity. But besides that obvious point, the fact that we make our journalism by basically drawing funny pictures means that cartoonists are not always considered to be serious media professionals. Add to this the fact that cartoonists often work alone at home or in their studio, and not in a newsroom with their journalistic colleagues, and we can see why they are something of a special breed.
And although I agree that we cartoonists are somewhat of a special category, I also very much belief that editorial cartoonists are journalists. Because I believe that what we do is fundamental to journalism. For me, journalism is about pointing out the wrongs of society, about exposing corruption and power abuse, and about keeping a check on power by letting those in power know they are being watched. It's about making people think about important issues by providing them with different perspectives. And its about ensuring a thriving public debate.
All these goals cartoons accomplish. And in doing so, cartoonists adhere to most of the principles that other journalists use. Excluding the aforementioned objectivity, which Cartoon Movement has sought to circumvent by presenting a multitude of clearly subjective perspectives.
But we try to get the facts we base a cartoon on straight just like 'normal' journalists. And we have a strong ethical framework. This is especially important when making satire. Who do we mock and why do we make fun of them? The guiding principle being that satire should punch up, attack those in power, and not down towards the weak and powerless.
So Cartoon Movement has always strived to be a journalistic platform and to be recognized and honored as such is amazing!
The second reason this award is so important to me is because it recognizes the importance and impact that cartoons have.
The image you see on the screens, with a cartoonist's finger on the trigger, which is shaped like a pencil, was chosen to illustrate this point. Cartoons have impact because they can make their point immediately, within one to three seconds. This is especially true for cartoons that are wordless, which are the ones we often publish on Cartoon Movement. A good cartoon evokes an immediate emotional response: laughter, shock, anger, sadness. This is what makes visuals so powerful. It turns the pencil that cartoonists wield into a weapon. A weapon that is, if you will forgive me the cliche, mightier than the sword.
And the pencil is also seen this way - as a weapon - by those who do not appreciate satire, most often because they fear it will undermine their power. Dictators and extremists alike fear cartoons. They fear their power to open people's minds to new perspectives, and to make people think beyond the dogmas those in power have instilled in them.
The attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015 is a testimony to this, but it is not the only one. The Press Freedom Index has shown for the last years that press freedom is in decline. And cartoonists are always among the first to fall victim to declining liberty, by censorship, harassment, arrest or worse.
This week, Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart was sent back to jail for one year and 16 days. Although his conviction was for another supposed crime, many believe, as do I, that the true reason for his incarceration is his critical pencil. We all know Mr. Erdogan isn't too fond of criticism.
And across the ocean, in Nicaragua, cartoonist Pedro X. Molina is in hiding as he continues to expose the wrongdoings of the regime of Daniel Ortega. At the end of last year, the newsroom of the Nicaraguan paper Confidential, was raided and destroyed by government troops, but Pedro and his colleagues refuse to give up.
It is these people we want to support at Cartoon Movement; to give them and other cartoonists a voice so they can continue to have an impact.
And on this eve of World Press Freedom Day, it is to them that I would like to dedicate this award. To all those cartoonists around the world that are in danger because of what they do, but continue to do it regardless. Because they believe that what they do matters.