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Palestinian Cartoonist facing Death Threats

01/29/2014

Photograph credited to Arabcartoon.net
 
The situation regarding Palestinian cartoonist. Majda Shaheen, is of concern to CRNI, following the issue of death threats, and a campaign, against her, in connection with a cartoon the cartoonist published on her Facebook page. The cartoon depicted a perceived view of the relationship between the Head of the Ruling Authority in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas, and the Al-Quds brigades; as detailed in the following report from 'Arab Cartoon.net'
 
Following the publication on her Facebook page, comments appeared on various online sites callling for retalliation against the cartoonist, alongside death threats.  The official page of the Al Qud Brigade asking for details of her whereabouts, providing further intimidation, one site featuring a picture of someone with the same name, with the word 'Execution' placed upon it.
 
Concerns are growing for the safety of the cartoonist; The 'Arab Cartoon', website, stating that they shall hold Hamas fully responsible for her safety. Following the threats, Majda Shaheen withdrew the cartoon placing the following statement on her page -
 
"I want to apologize for the cartoon I published about Al-Quds Brigades and Hamas.  My intention was to convey the idea to you, clearly and strictly.  However, there are many who prefer to deal with things superficially rather than in-depth understanding of the idea to be conveyed." 
 
CRNI call on the Palestinian authorities to ensure her safety, with a request that those authorities should do all they can to enable journalists, and cartoonists, to have the right to free speech, and freedom of expression, whatever that comment may be, so their voices can continue to be heard throughout the world.  A right of free speech which should be unhindered by such threats. Something which CRNI has worked alongside cartoonists in the region to try and adhere to, often in the face of such intimidation by other authorities too.  
 
Director of CRN, Robert Russell, stated that it is of concern too that some journalists and cartoonists, who may not agree with the comment made within the cartoon, have joined in the condemnation too, thus undermining that concept of free speech, something which they themselves value, and thus should be supporting, along with the right, even moreso, of all cartoonists to be able to express themselves freely. Something which we hope we can all work together to ensure, in this instance too, thus sending out the clear message that cartoonists should not be intimidated in such a way, which, obviously within the region, will be for the good of all, without exception.
 
 
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