Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's not about cartoons, stupid

So Zunar, Malaysiakini's resident cartoonist is now under arrest.

That's a picture of him on the left, taken from his site

To arrest him just hours before he was due to launch his latest book Cartoon-O-Phobia is certainly no great PR move. A knee jerk reaction that serves to make the authorities look ridiculous.

To be honest, though sometimes the man is funny I don't always agree with the tones his cartoons take. There are times when I find the images crass but the thing is, Zunar is no different from others like him who lampoon and ridicule public figures.

What the government needs to come to terms with is that not everyone agrees with it. Locking up cartoonists for simply having an opinion is ridiculous.

Yet Zunar is no exception in the cartoon world. Plenty of his compatriots have had their works censored according to this article in Pasadena Weekly.

I may not always like the stuff he puts out, but I support Zunar's right to do what he does best - encapsulate issues or hot topics for the day in a single, searing image.

(Sidenote to Steven Gan of Malaysiakini, though. Him saying Zunar was "better than Lat" at the book launch was uncool. Lat is as much a Malaysian institution as roti canai. You don't need to make a statement about freedom of expression by tearing down another cartoonist.)