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
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.
Gàbor PAPAI, HUNGARY
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.