Have you been threatened?


In some cases you may get a warning - sometimes even a friendly warning - that your cartoons are becoming too critical and that certain individuals in government would like to see you stop drawing them.  One cartoonist was casually warned at a gathering of professional journalists that members of the new ruling party were not happy with his cartoons.  When he went home that night he discussed this with his wife, and they decided that the warning wasn't very serious and they ignored it.  He kept drawing the same critical cartoons embarrassing the leaders of the new political party.  Not too long after this warning he was kidnapped and murdered.  The police, who were most likely in the payroll of the new government, declared that his death was a "hijacking gone wrong."  There was plenty of convincing evidence that this was not the case.  Clearly he had been targeted for death by a kidnapping squad.  He had been warned, he did not take the warning seriously, and he paid with his life.

If the commentary or the cartoons that you, or others, are posting on your Facebook page, are deemed to be offensive, you will likely receive threatening postings.  This may be another form of warning.

All of these warning scenarios must result in your taking some kind of action to prevent a warning from turning into an attack, an abuse, a lawsuit, or other kinds of criminal proceedings.

A killing or attack against a journalist or human rights worker in your country is a warning to all other journalists.  But cartoonists who are under attack and who, through good strategy and good planning, become harder targets, also become a beacon to other journalists and human rights workers.  If you are a hardened target both physically and legally, other cartoonists can use you as an example of how to strengthen and harden cartooning in general.  

If you have been threatened you must take countermeasures.  First, listen to your instincts and then carefully evaluate the nature of the threat.   Protect yourself as necessary and don't forget to invoke the protection of a well-built support network.


  • Take even casual warnings from friends very seriously.  Inform your network every time this happens and keep a record.    
  • Monitor your Facebook and other social media pages very closely, and take down any material that doesn't represent your point of view.

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