Recent Press Releases & News

Iranian cartoonist Atena Fargadhani sentenced to 6 years in prison – Facing “harshest punishment” for her activism, Atena Farghadani must be released immediately

We are dismayed to learn that the Iranian activist, artist, and cartoonist Atena Farghadani has been sentenced to a total of six years in prison; five years for “insulting the sacred” and one year for “propaganda against the State”. This sentence was handed down by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Revolutionary Court on Monday, June 10, as confirmed by lawyer Mohammad Moghimi via social media. The maximum penalties are indicative of the Iranian regime’s long-standing determination to persecute and silence this courageous rights defender.

Atena Farghadani had been detained since April 13 2024 after attempting to display a drawing in a public space, not far from the presidential palace in Tehran. Over the past decade, she has been regularly monitored and harassed due to her art and activities opposing the repression of rights in Iran, especially those of women and children.

Previously jailed in 2014-16, and again for a short period last summer, Atena Farghadani risks coming to harm within the penal system. In 2023 she alleged an attempted poisoning. At the time of her arrest this year she reported that she suffered severe injuries from Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel.

Artwork by Atena Farghadani was recently exhibited in Norway, at the sixteenth Oslo Forum for Freedom (OFF) organized by the Human Rights Foundation, dedicated to “reclaiming democracy”. In the presence of human rights defenders from around the world, Atena Farghadani’s representative Mohammad Moghimi ensured that her voice was heard, a voice that is both brave and righteous, and is targeted because she dares to defy oppression and injustice in her country.

Our organizations call for her immediate release and that she be returned to her family unharmed.


Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) Association of Canadian Cartoonists Cartooning for Peace
Cartoon Movement
Cartoonists Rights
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Forum for Humor and the Law Freedom Cartoonists Foundation Freemuse
Index on Censorship
Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

Press contact : Chloe Guerif +33 (0)7 49 33 55 86

The Freedom Cartoonists Foundation and the City of Geneva announce the winners of the 2024Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award: Rachita Taneja of India, and Zunzi of Hong Kong

The Freedom Cartoonists Foundation and the City of Geneva announce the winners of the 2024
Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award: Rachita Taneja of India, and Zunzi of Hong Kong

On World Press Freedom Day, on May 3, the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation recognizes the talent and courage of cartoonists working under difficult circumstances. The Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award 2024 will be presented by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi of Iran, during a public ceremony at the Geneva Graduate Institute, in presence of CNN’s international chief anchor Christiane Amanpour. This cartoon award has been presented every two years since 2012. (In alternance with the biennial international Prize presented by the allied organization Cartoonists Rights in the United States).

The accompanying international exhibition Cartooning for Freedom, visible on the shores of Lake Geneva until June 2, 2024, features nearly 60 press cartoons selected by Freedom Cartoonists, in partnership with Cartooning for Peace in Paris.

Chaired by Kenneth Roth, former Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, the international jury shares the 2024 Prize between two winners: Rachita Taneja (India) and Zunzi (Hong Kong). For Chappatte, president of the Foundation, “Both brilliantly embody the fundamental values of editorial cartooning: talent, freedom of spirit, and courage. With a bit of mischief.” For Sami Kanaan, Administrative Councillor in charge of culture and digital transition, “All the cartoonists competing this year deserve our respect for their talents and the risks they take.”

Rachita Taneja, India (left) and Zunzi, Honk Kong (right)

Rachita Taneja, India

On her popular online webcomic Sanitary Panels, the young Indian cartoonist Rachita Taneja draws chronicles of daily life in India. She is under the threat of a prison sentence following a complaint lodged by a member of the nationalist party in power in India. She is attacked for her critical cartoons about patriarchy, intolerance, and authoritarianism. Her cartoons on the ban on the hijab in schools gave rise in 2022 to new threats. India ranks 161 on 180 countries according to RSF Press Freedom Index.

Zunzi, Honk Kong

In May 2023, Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao dismissed Zunzi, its regular cartoonist since 1983. The decision came after months of criticism of Zunzi by officials since Beijing adopted in 2020 National Security Laws that have reshaped Hong Kong’s arts, culture, and the media. His cartoons were denounced by officials for their “sanctimonious humour that damages Hong Kong’s image” and called “ too distorting and unethical ”. Hong Kong ranks 140 on 180 countries on RSF Press Freedom Index.

The European Press Prize and Studio Europa Maastricht announce the opening of the European Cartoon Award 2024, the prize for excellence in editorial cartoons

Press release from the European Cartoon Award — From April 29 to June 2, 2024, editorial cartoonists will be able to submit their work for the fifth edition of the European Cartoon Award. Submitted cartoons must have had their first publication date between June 2, 2023, and June 2, 2024, with a media outlet from a country within the Council of Europe, plus Belarus, and Russia.

Founded in 2019, by the European Press Prize and Studio Europa Maastricht, the European Cartoon Award has one of the highest monetary prizes for cartoonists, granting its winner a prize of 10,000 euros.

The cartoons can be submitted via this link:

read more…

“Solidarity with cartoonist Zehra Ömeroğlu, on the eve of her trial in Türkiye” – A joint press release from Cartooning for Peace, Cartoonists Rights, Freedom Cartoonists and Freemuse

11 April 2024 — A few days before her criminal trial on obscenity charges, scheduled for 16 April in Istanbul, Cartooning for Peace, Cartoonists’ Rights, the Freedom Cartoonist Foundation and Freemuse reiterate their support for cartoonist Zehra Ömeroğlu of Türkiye, over whom the prospect of criminalisation hangs like a veritable lead blanket.

Translation: «Pandemic sex… – At least I didn’t lose my taste and smell…»

Zehra Ömeroğlu faces a sentence ranging from 6 months to 3 years’ imprisonment, as well as the payment of a fine, for a cartoon on the symptoms of Covid-19 published on 25 November 2020 in the Turkish humor magazine Leman. Her situation is recorded on the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Safety of Journalists.

On 8 March 2024, Türkiye’s Board for the Protection of Minors from Obscene Publications («Muzır Neşriyat Kurulu») concluded that the cartoon «offends public decency and modesty and is contrary to general morality», arguing that the cartoonist «arouses and exploits sexual desires». These conclusions pave the way for her trial, which has been postponed four times since her first appearance in court in May 2021. Even though her lawyer contests the findings, as Turkish law allows, the hearing will go ahead on 16 April, where the likelihood of a conviction is increased on the basis of the Board’s conclusions.

Zehra Ömeroğlu works for local media aiming to liberate women’s voices. Her cartoons have appeared in numerous publications, in Türkiye and abroad, and she has had three books of her works published. She likes to focus on women’s rights, taboos and human psychology. These criminal proceedings have plunged her into deep despair, while severely restricting her professional prospects.

In an interview conducted in October 2022, Zehra Ömeroğlu said: «I’m a humorist and the aim of my work is to look at everyday problems from a different angle, with a lighter touch so that we can laugh about them together. But even such a harmless drawing can be subjected to severe judgement. The readers didn’t think that my drawing could be punished.»

Although Türkiye is bound to protect freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and by its own Constitution, which also guarantees freedom of the press and the free dissemination of art, the country is ranked 165/180 in the Reporters without borders World Press Freedom Index 2023.

Determined to defend Zehra Ömeroğlu, our organizations express their full solidarity with her in the face of the trial, the outcome of which will be a true marker of the scale of the attacks on freedom of expression, and of the space allocated to women’s freedom of expression and feminist artistic production in Türkiye.

“The price of truth: film screening and discussion”

With the special presence of Dmitry Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize, Patrick Forbes, director, and Chappatte

October 13, 2023, 18:00 – 20:15

Auditorium A1A, Maison de la paix, Geneva Graduate Institute

Video: Steven Fourcade and Filippo Gander for the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation

The Geneva Graduate Institute, the Kofi Annan Foundation and Freedom Cartoonists Foundation hosted a screening of the documentary “The Price of Truth” about the life of Dmitry Muratov. Russian journalist, television presenter and the editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Muratov was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Maria Ressa for “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”. On 1 September 2023, Muratov was declared by the Russian authorities to be a “foreign agent”. 

Dmitry Muratov was present at the event. 

The film screening was followed by a discussion with Dmitry Muratov, film director Patrick Forbes, and Chappatte, president of the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation, Moderated by Corinne Momal-Vanian, Executive Director, Kofi Annan Foundation.

When cartoons upset Indian nationalists

By Patrick Chappatte, in “Le Temps”
Research and documentation : Freedom Cartoonists

Der Spiegel Chappatte
Cartoon by Chappatte in Der Spiegel, Germany, on

At the end of April, one of my cartoons published in German magazine Der Spiegel caused quite a stir in India. Tweets from ministers, a media craze, an embarrassed German ambassador; a simple cartoon suddenly became a geopolitical affair. But this furor was just part of a bigger story – the Modi government’s growing intolerance of the country’s humorists and cartoonists.

“World population: India overtakes China”. On April 22, this headline inspired the theme of my cartoon for Der Spiegel – a weekly featuresince 2018. I depicted a cheerful, overcrowded Indian train overtaking a somewhat gloomy Chinese bullet train. Unfortunately, my train collided with some sacred cows, among them Indian nationalist pride, in fierce competition with China, and the place railroads seem to hold in the country’s national psyche.

The day after publication, the Indian information minister’s senior adviser lit the fuse on Twitter: “Hey Germany, this is outrageously racist!”Read the full article on Chappatte’s website

Alert Iran – Atena Farghadani

Following widespread press reports of the arrest and detention of Iranian artist, activist and cartoonist Atena Farghadani in Tehran on June 7th 2023, CARTOONISTS RIGHTS, Cartooning For Peace, and the FREEDOM CARTOONISTS Foundation call for prosecutors in the Islamic Republic of Iran to drop the charges of “disturbing public order” and release Ms Farghadani immediately.

According to her lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi: “Since her release in 20161, intelligence and security agents have harassed her many times, including prevention from employment, tapping her phone and disturbing her private life. These cases have caused her to protest against the agencies responsible and that has become the basis for her detention.”

It was Mr Moghimi who on June 8th and via Twitter confirmed her arrest after a summons to the courthouse at Evin Prison. The next day he further stated: “A bail in the amount of [$4,200] has been issued for my client Atena Farghdani, and she refused to accept the bail with the argument that she has not committed a crime and that her summons and charges are illegal and arbitrary, and for this reason, she was transferred to [the Qarchak Prison for women, outside Tehran].

From a trusted source we have learned the charges articulated so far relate to disturbance of the public order. After an absence of some three years and three months, Ms Farghadani took to her Instagram account last week and prior to her court summons had posted images of a new coloured pencil drawing. Despite much speculation online, at this time we have no reason to believe she was arrested because of this social media post.

Ms Farghadani was awarded the Courage in Cartooning Award by Cartoonists Rights in 2015, after a 2014 drawing posted to Facebook and depicting parliamentarians as animals, an objection to laws restricting women’s reproductive choices, led to a series of criminal charges including “spreading propaganda against the system”, “insulting members of parliament through paintings”, “gathering and colluding against national security”, “insulting the President”, and “insulting prison officials”.

After eighteen months in prison, all sentences were commuted or reduced, save one; over the following four years of her life Farghadani could have gone to prison again at any time under a suspended sentence of “insulting the Iranian Supreme Leader”.

Whilst a prisoner Ms Farghadani was severely abused and subjected to virginity and pregnancy tests against her will, practices that are designated torture by international human rights standards. She spent a period on hunger strike and suffered a heart attack. After a handshake between herself and Mr Moghimi she faced additional criminal charges of “’illicit sexual relations falling short of adultery”.

Hence, now that the same authorities have Ms Farghadani in custody again, there is good cause to fear escalation and further charges to come, as well as dire mistreatment.

In our view, Atena Farghadani is a prisoner of conscience, there is no justification for her detention, and we demand her immediate and unconditional release.

Robert Russel Courage in Cartooning Award 2023 – ABECOR

CARTOONISTS RIGHTS presents the Robert Russell Courage in Cartooning Award to Abel Bellido Córdova – ABECOR – of the Página Siete news outlet in Bolivia. We acknowledge our partner – the FREEDOM CARTOONISTS Foundation – and their support in delivery of this work. Our award alternates biannually with their own, the Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award.

A talented folk musician and sculptor, Abecor’s daily cartoons are clear in their intention and fearless, taking aim at societal problems and powerful people in equal measure. The government of Bolivia is often criticised by human rights and free expression organizations.

Bolivia ranks 117 out of 180 nations in the 2023 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, which further warns that “attacks, threats, censorship, and harassment by the government and pro-government forces constantly violate press freedom. Attacks against journalists, especially by the police, are becoming increasingly frequent”.  

Little wonder Abecor’s cartoons are so popular and his postings on all major social platforms bear testimony to their impact. This, no doubt, is what has brought about the troubles that have visited him in recent years.

In August 2021, he pictured the blue suited attorney general Wilfredo Chávez in free-fall while declaring that the Organization of American States (OEA in Spanish) had not audited the electoral results. Blue is the color of the ruling political party MAS. 

After posting the cartoon he received the following response via Instagram: “You are crazy about the colour blue Abecor. Focus on something else or you’ll be offered blue flowers when you die”. A brazen, public death threat, empowered by social media’s promotion of unaccountability through anonymity.

Refusing to be intimidated, Abecor featured the attorney general in another cartoon just two months later. Here, he is seen – dressed in blue again – standing in front of the State Attorney General’s Office which is styled as a blue circus tent. This time the attorney general is comically depicted as an illusionist pulling a rabbit from a hat. The rabbit is holding an upside-down sign that ironically declares “No Fraud”; another reference to the disputed elections.

This time the death threat, emanating from the same anonymised account, was as swift and sinister, yet even more blatant: “Your end is near, prepare to go underground Abecor, even without your moustache you will not be able to camouflage yourself”. As a precaution, the cartoonist had shaved in the recent past and the accurate observation made plain this was a local and therefore credible threat.

Shortly afterwards, Abecor and his family began noticing that they were being followed and photographed by suspicious persons, and threats mentioning family were received via Facebook. Earlier this year a piece of abject disinformation was distributed via Twitter by AG Chávez, in which a photo was said to show the cartoonist at a meal with a person wanted for participating in the massacres that followed the ousting of the (previous) Morales government.

Abecor laments; “I have received reviews both good and bad, yet never thought that this would reach such extremes, in terms of threats. If before I could easily go about the streets, now I go only with trepidation. This government gives rise to ‘digital guerrillas’ whose main objective is to create false accounts on social networks – to attack, insult, denigrate, and threaten anyone whose opinions differ from government policy. Bizarre to say, they receive a salary from our taxes.”

Last week CARTOONISTS RIGHTS presented the 2023 Robert Russell Courage in Cartooning Award to Abecor at a private ceremony, held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Abecor is the 40th cartoonist that the organization was recognised with an award. The last recipient from the Americas was Nicaraguan Pedro X. Molina in 2018, and he was on hand in Washington to congratulate his colleague.

The following day, Abecor was the honored guest at a special panel discussion event hosted at the Library of Congress. Cartoonists Rights’ Executive Director Terry Anderson gave a keynote address on the defence of cartoonists’ freedom of expression, and on the panel where local cartoonists Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher and Alexandra Bowman. Expert opinion on threats to all media workers and journalists was provided by Gabe Rottman, Technology and Press Freedom Project Director for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The panel was moderated by Roslyn Mazer, Amicus Counsel to the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.

Please note a video presentation of the entire event will be made available via the LOC website at a later date.

With the support of Página Siete, national and international institutions, and regular people who have shown their solidarity, Abecor stands resolute. “I want to keep the pencil sharp. I want to keep drawing about the happenings of the time. Because I believe that most important, above all, is freedom of expression.”  

CARTOONISTS RIGHTS extends its thanks to:

  • The FREEDOM CARTOONISTS Foundation, our partner in awards-giving
  • The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), our presentation event sponsor
  • Staff at the National Press Club and Library of Congress, most especially Sara Duke, curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art, Prints and Photographs Division

Press release – Winners of the 2022 « Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award »

The Freedom Cartoonists Foundation and the City of Geneva are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 « Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award »

The Award, first established in 2012 with a ceremony held every two years in Geneva, celebrates the talent and courage of cartoonists who work in difficult conditions and contexts, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day: the 3rd of May. The Award honours editorial cartoonists for their outstanding contribution to human rights and freedom of expression. This year’s prize is endowed with CHF 15,000. The 2020 edition had to be cancelled due to the health crisis.

The Jury was composed of Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch (president), Sami Kanaan, City of Geneva and editorial cartoonists Ann Telnaes (USA), Kak (France) and Chappatte (Switzerland).

The 2022 winners are Vladimir Kazanevsky from Ukraine and Gàbor Pàpai from Hungary.

“We are particularly proud to present them with the Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award in the presence of prominent journalists and co-laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize, Maria Ressa and Dmity Muratov: they all share a strong sense of justice and a will to resist. Cartoonists do it through their art and take huge risks in showing the emperor is naked and in depicting the full brutality of autocrats.” said Patrick Chappatte, president of the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation.


Vladimir Kazanevsky, Ukraine’s leading cartoonist, was working in his studio early in the morning of 24 February when he heard loud explosions near the airport. He and his wife quickly found themselves in Western Ukraine, along with a huge wave of families fleeing the bombings. They decided to cross the Polish border to Presov, a town in Slovakia with a community of artists.

Deprived of his drawing materials, catalogues and books, which he had to leave behind in Kiev, Vladimir Kazanevsky continues to draw relentlessly: Putin in action, on a tank or on the bow of the Titanic. “Autocrats and dictators are afraid of our cartoons, and they are right, because our drawings are powerful weapons,” he says.

Fiercely determined to continue the fight against Russian aggression, the 71-year-old sees his work as an act of resistance. An act of defence of freedom of expression against war propaganda.


For several years, Hungarian cartoonist Gàbor Pàpai and his newspaper Népszava – the only opposition daily still alive in Budapest – have been the subject of attacks and legal proceedings by the authorities – even though Hungary is part of the European Union!

The Catholic religion, the fight against covid or simply Hungarian history are all pretexts for prosecution in a country ranked 92nd in the world press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). This shameful ranking has been deteriorating ever since Viktor Orbán became Prime Minister, putting all independent media in great difficulty. Some, like Népszava, are directly threatened with extinction. Gàbor Pàpai, far from being intimidated, continues to critically observe and draw all political actors in Hungary.

The 2022 winners are exhibited on the Quai Wilson until 31 May 2022. The exhibition DESSINS POUR LA LIBERTE, featuring 60 press cartoons collected by the Swiss foundation Freedom Cartoonists in partnership with Cartooning for Peace (Paris) and Cartoonists Rights Network International (USA), and selected by curator Patrick Chappatte, covers three topical themes: “war in Europe”, “a COVID life” and “the climate, it’s hot! “
The Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award, will alternate biannually with Cartoonists Rights Network International’s prize, the “Robert Russell Courage in Cartooning Award”. Through these awards, both organizations will honour extraordinary contributions to freedom of expression made by editorial and political cartoonists, often despite the most difficult of circumstances.

Press release – Genève célèbre la liberté de la presse et le dessin de presse avec les Prix Nobel de la Paix 2021

La Freedom Cartoonists Foundation et la Ville de Genève ont le plaisir d’annoncer une journée exceptionnelle dédiée à la liberté des médias et du dessin de presse mardi 3 mai 2022, en présence des Prix nobel de la Paix 2021, Madame Maria Ressa et Monsieur Dmitry Muratov.

Cette journée débutera à 10h15 sur le quai Wilson, avec une visite inaugurale réservée aux médias, de l’exposition des lauréat-es du Prix international du dessin de presse “Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award” 2022. Les dessins des lauréats seront exposés jusqu’au 31 mai, sur le Quai Wilson. Pour rappel, la fondation décerne, en partenariat avec la Ville de Genève, ce prix bisannuel depuis 2012. Il est doté cette année de 15’000 CHF. L’édition 2020 avait dû être annulée en raison de la crise sanitaire.

Cette exposition sera l’occasion de révéler les lauréats 2022, mais également de (re)découvrir le coup de crayon de dessinateur-trices du monde entier. L’édition 2022, riche de 60 dessins de presse rassemblés par la fondation suisse Freedom Cartoonists en partenariat avec le réseau Cartooning for Peace (Paris) et Cartoonists Rights Network International (USA), et choisis par le curateur Patrick Chappatte, décline trois thèmes d’actualité : « la guerre en Europe », « une vie de COVID » et « le climat, c’est chaud ! ».

Deuxième moment de cette journée, la conférence et cérémonie publique qui aura lieu à 12h00 à la Maison de la Paix (auditorium Pictet, Graduate Institute – Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2). Celle-ci bénéficiera de la présence exceptionnelle des Prix Nobel de la Paix 2021, Mme Maria Ressa (co-fondatrice de la plate-forme numérique de journalisme d’investigation Rappler) et M. Dmitry Muratov (rédacteur en chef du journal Novaïa Gazeta), ainsi que de la Conseillère fédérale Mme Simonetta Sommaruga, de la Haute-Commissaire aux Droits de l’Homme Mme Michelle Bachelet, du Conseiller administratif M. Sami Kanaan et du Président de la Freedom Cartoonists Foundation et dessinateur de presse M. Patrick Chappatte. S’inscrire ici

La première partie de cet événement proposera une discussion sur l’état et les enjeux de la liberté de la presse dans un monde facturé. La cérémonie se poursuivra avec la remise du Prix International du Dessin de Presse Kofi Annan “Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award” 2022, en présence des dessinatrices et dessinateurs internationaux.

Troisième moment, une conférence de presse avec les lauréats du Prix 2022 et les Nobel est organisée par le Club suisse de la presse et la Fondation à 14h45 au Graduate Institute, salle S8. Inscriptions auprès du Club suisse de la presse.


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