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Feb

Zunar: Announcement: I have been invited to speak at the UN

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Announcement: I have been invited to speak at the UN

I would like to announce that I have been invited as one of the panelists to speak in a forum at the United Nations on March 6th, 2015.

The forum titled “Defending Artistic Expression – Time For The UN To Act” will be held at the Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva. This event is part of the UN Human Rights Council Session and jointly organized by Article 19.

In my speech, I will reaffirm my stand that freedom of expression for artists including cartoonists is paramount and cannot be compromised. I also will touch the lack of commitment from the UN to protect artists – hence gives more power to corrupt regimes and extremist bigots to be more repressive toward artists.

THE BACKGROUND

On 28 January, Zunar’s office has been raided while he is on speaking tour in London. More than 150 books were confiscated. The raid was made under Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Sedition Act and Penal Code.

Before this, more than 500 copies of Zunar’s books were confiscated in two separate raids to his office by the authorities. 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.

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

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