Zapiro Honoured for Bravery

Zapiro receives IPA Award
Jonathan Shapiro, the South African cartoonist who signs his work ‘Zapiro’ has been honoured again; this time by the International Publishers Association who last week presented him with the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize at their 29th Congress in Cape Town. Zapiro rates the award amongst the most prestigious that he’s received.

Zapiro receives IPA Award
IPA President YoungSuk Chi presents the 2012 IPA Freedom to Publish award to Zapiro during the closing ceremony of the 29th Congress of the International Publishers Association at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 14 June.

“it is an honour to receive such a meaningful award", said the cartoonist, "one that has previously been given to courageous writers and activists under threat all over the world”, he said on receiving the award.

"And to receive it right now in South Africa is of particular significance to me. The African National Congress,  the very movement that brought democracy to South Africa,  now as the ruling party responds to criticism by curtailing the spread of information and by stifling freedom of expression. Journalists,  whistleblowers,  corruption-busters,  cultural activists and even judges have been targeted. Politicians who demand that artists and writers conform will find that many of us consider it our duty to be patriotic sceptics”.

Bjørn Smith-Simonsen,  Chair of IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee,  commented: “Jonathan Shapiro has had the enormous courage to draw and publish essential,  and often controversial,  political cartoons in newspapers and books for many years now. He has also been remarkably consistent in his fight for freedom of expression during the apartheid era,  and in the years since it ended. He has been criticized and publicly intimidated in South Africa,  and has even received death threats. The defamation lawsuit initiated against him by the country’s President is set to begin on 25 October 2012.”

"Despite the lawsuit,  Jonathan Shapiro is not afraid. In fact,  he is one of the brave voices speaking out against the dangers of corruption and authoritarianism,  thus using with courage – through subversive humour – his right to freedom of expression and freedom to publish. Jonathan Shapiro exemplifies everything that the IPA Freedom to Publish prize stands for”

He concluded his appraisal of Zapiro’s work with a call for the government to back down in its suit against him. “We therefore call for Jonathan Shapiro’s acquittal and on his government to stop using defamation lawsuits as a tool to stifle freedom of expression,  and in this regard to uphold Article 16 of the South African Constitution,  Article 12 of the 2002 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa,  and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

Posted on Jun 22, 2012 by Africartoons Bookmark and Share