8

Dec

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN OF SUPPORT FOR ZUNAR

0 Comment| 0 Likes

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), a Washington-based group who defends cartoonists rights globally has launched a campaign to support political cartoonist, Zunar, who now faces a new battle with the Malaysian government under the draconian law, the Sedition Act.

Included in the campaign pages are the latest harassment by the government, a message from CRNI’s Executive Director Dr. Robert Russell and a letter of protest to Malaysian Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Inspector General of Police.

For more details, please proceed to this link: http://cartoonistsrights.org/zunar-battling-new-sedition-charge/

Here is Dr. Robert Russell’s message, an excerpt from the link:

Message from Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), Washington Executive Director, Dr. Robert Russell

THE government of Malaysia has to be congratulated for single-handedly creating the country’s latest national hero. It’s remarkable what a single person with a pen can accomplish in Malaysia.

For nearly 5 years now Zunar has been a thorn in the side of the government, as he uncovers and then illustrates all the modern wrongdoings of a quasi-failed state. His cartoons focus on corruption, cronyism, lack of transparency, theft, illegal kickbacks, nepotism, election rigging and every other kind of reward that failed state political hacks seem to thrive on. Zunar’s drawings could be used as a primer for any failed state crony who wishes to further harvest ill-gotten gains from under the noses of their citizens, while flagrantly thumbing the same nose at their own Constitution.

Zunar must be recognized internationally and domestically as the patriot and hero that he is. Every Malaysian citizen should understand that he risks his life on behalf of everyone, and he does it in defense of the honor of Malaysia and in the name of the Malaysian Constitution. Zunar has deeply internalized the Constitution’s guarantee that he and every other Malaysian citizen who has the courage, the right to be such a patriot.

For more than 20 years I have been monitoring the activities of political cartoonists who are in trouble because the power and influence of their work. I am constantly in awe of them. They are not all as dynamic and feisty and stubborn as Zunar, but they all exhibit a courage and the dignity which exemplifies the best of the human spirit. As the famous American humorist Mark Twain once said, “Against the power of laughter, nothing can stand.” Zunar, along with so many of his associates who suffer along with him, are the hidden heroes of every modern democracy.

If the political leaders in Malaysia really understood what they were dealing with, they would just let him alone. They would allow him to publish his cartoons, and thus stop being the source of so many wonderful stories about unethical and illegal censorship in Malaysia. As they say on the French Riviera, you can never be too thin or too rich. A good look at Zunar’s cartoons will assure us that Malaysia’s leaders are certainly not too thin, but he does suggest that they are probably too rich.

Zunar’s story is a wonderful life lesson about the power of the individual. Whenever anyone asks the silly question of, “Well, what can I do?” The answer is you can do what Zunar does. You can do what Malalla does. You can do what Mahatma Gandhi did.

Stay safe Zunar. Malaysia needs you. The world needs you.

Robert Russell
Executive Director
Cartoonists Rights Network International

THE BACKGROUND

The latest government crackdown is the highest harassment and intimidation against Zunar by the Malaysian authority.

IN PREVIOUS episode, apart from the cartoonist, the authority only went after the vendors, the printers and the publishers. This time round, they also went after the webmaster and online customers. Before this, more than 500 copies of Zunar’s books were confiscated. The action was extended to printers, vendors and bookstores around the country – their places were raided and they were warned not to print and sell Zunar’s books in future.

Recently, on 6 November 2014, three of his assistants were arrested and taken to the police station for selling latest cartoon books. Few days after that, the webmaster, who has been managing Zunar’s website and online bookstore, has been called by the police for investigation under the Sedition Act.

In the latest development, the police have asked the online payment gateway that handles his book transactions to disclose the list of customers who have purchased his books through official website, zunar.my.

On 20 November, Zunar was investigated at Dang Wangi Police Station in Kuala Lumpur under the “Classified Crime Section” involving three different laws — Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Sedition Act and Penal Code, after two separate police reports were made against him.

For the record, this is Zunar’s second investigation under The Sedition Act for cartooning — the first was in September 2010, when he was arrested and detained in the lock-up for two days. In addition, five of his books titled “Perak Darul Kartun”, “1 Funny Malaysia”, “Isu Dalam Kartun” Vol. 1, 2 and 3 were banned by the Home Minister from 2009 to 2010.

In 2011, Zunar was conferred “Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award” by the Cartoonist Rights Network International

Your Shopping Cart