Cartoonist to outline press freedom struggles
The Malaysian political cartoonist known as Zunar will discuss press freedom and his efforts to combat sedition charges in his country during his Jan. 22 talk, “To Fight Through Cartoons,” at the University of Louisville.
The Center for Asian Democracy’s annual lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, 2800 S. Floyd St.; visitors should enter through Gate 6. The talk and reception afterward are free and public, but guests are asked to register through a form on the center’s site, http://louisville.edu/asiandemocracy
He is expected to talk about the importance of free expression, the challenge of his work in Malaysia and the need for activism from cartoonists, satirists and comedians as well as human rights activists and social campaigners.
Zunar, or Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, received the 2011 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning from Cartoonists Rights Network International. In 2010 the Malaysian government banned the publication of his book “1 Funny Malaysia” and then months later police seized and confiscated copies of his latest book, “Cartoon-o-phobia,” and arrested him hours before its planned launch. He lost his appeal for wrongful arrest when the Malaysian appellate court ruled that police had cause to suspect the book was seditious.
“Democracy is about far more than contesting elections; it is also about the upholding of certain civil rights in the law and in the norms of political and social life. Among the most important of these rights are freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” said Jason Abbott, Center for Asian Democracy director. “Since 2010 the government of Malaysia has tried to silence one of the country’s most popular cartoonists. In recognition of this, the center is proud to welcome Zunar to give its annual lecture on Asian democracy.”
“The recognition by the University of Louisville serves as a morale booster for me to continue ‘to fight through cartoons.’ It is interesting to note that I am not allowed to speak at universities in my homeland,” the cartoonist said.