WASHINGTON—Political cartoonists argued last Wednesday that humor that questions power and societal conventions should not be limited by government authorities, but protected.
At a Freedom House forum, two South American cartoonists Rayma of Venezuela, and Bonil of Ecuador, discussed humor’s role and said government should not stifle citizens’ creativity.
For political cartoonists, objections from government aren’t anything new. Humor has always attacked power and society’s foibles, but these days the need for such expression to be protected is more crucial.
In January, employees of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were attacked by terrorists, calling into question what the limits of expression should be in that country.
“Graphite doesn’t hurt anybody,” Bonil said, speaking in Spanish. “But lead – bullets — do.”
“Humor has no limits. The whole reason for being is that humor helps us overcome hurdles, to break barriers,” Bonil said.
Rayma added that “humor helps us, and that dark humor can also be a useful reflection of society…Humor is a manifestation of free thought, and as cartoonists we question taboos.”
Freedom House is a nonprofit watchdog group dedicated to monitoring human rights worldwide. According to the organization’s 2014 Freedom of the Press Report, only 14 percent of the world enjoys the benefits of a free press, free of government intrusion and not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.
Fuente: Ecuador Watch, iniciativa del Center for Investigative Journalism in the Americas