They Came for the Cartoonist.

>> Wednesday, April 15, 2009

via Juan Cole.

Last Thursday, police raided a cartoon exhibition in the Shiite holy city of Karbala and seized a drawing depicting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with a long nose trying to repair a car labeled "sectarian distribution of jobs," according to lawmaker Mufid al-Jazairie.

Al-Jazaire, who is chairman of the parliamentary education committee, said the raid was a violation of constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression has often been cited as a pillar of the new democracy that was established following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship during the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.
Karbala Governor Amal-Din al-Hir said police raided the exhibition because it had not been authorized by local authorities. He said no cartoon was seized, although Abid and al-Jazairie insisted that it was.

In America political cartoons have a long and venerated history. some have been pretty harsh but all have been protected as an important part of democratic government. If political cartoons are ok only with prior authorization thats a big problem


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