Monday, June 25, 2012

Zunar scoffs at Najib's call on cartoonists

Harakahdaily,25 June 2012

Jun 25: Political cartoonist Zunar has spoken out against prime minister Najib Razak's recent call on local cartoonists to adapt the '1Malaysia' message in their artworks, saying artists should not be recruited for government propaganda.

"The Prime Minister should not demean cartoonists to be the propagandists. Cartoons should be encouraged to flourish, not to be used to support government policies. Cartoons can only evolve and thrive with freedom to create," Zunar (pic) toldHarakahdaily, reacting to Najib's session with several cartoonists at the Central Market yesterday.

Najib had called on cartoonists to insert messages of "togetherness to uphold the 1Malaysia philosophy", saying "provocative and inciteful" works must be avoided.

Zunar, who earlier snubbed an invitation to attend the event, pointed out that the PM was hypocritical because cartoonists were "severely restricted" during his premiership.

"Apart from my own experience of detention and banned books, cartoonists who work in the mainstream medias are prohibited from criticizing the government. The PM still protects the Acts that restrict the freedom of cartoonists, acts such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act and also the Sedition Act," he said.

Zunar said Najib was only using national unity as a front for his political battle '1Malaysia', while at the same time "spearheads and supports the racially-divisive NGOs like Perkasa, Pekida, and others."

"Therefore, '1Malaysia' is not being seen as a symbol of unity, but a symbol of corruption where corruptors lay hiding behind. Hence, cartoonists should criticize the administration of the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his 1Malaysia, not support it!"

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