Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 16, 2012

Professor In India Arrested For Forwarding Political Cartoon

A ridiculous headline gets worse with what seems like every word detailing the actual incident: a professor in western India named Ambikesh Mahapatra was put behind bars on charges related to forwarding a cartoon critical of an elected official. I'm not sure what there is to say about such a thing other than that it's obviously awful, and that it's exponentially more noteworthy for taking place in a country of that size and import on the world stage. India has a rich tradition of political cartooning as well. One hopes the push back against the arrest continues and proves ultimately successful, if not in this case than in crystallizing a resistance to this sort of repression of speech more generally. There's been a bunch of distressing news out of India the last few months about police harassment of cartoonists according to what seem, by how various laws are fashioned, to be legitimate complaints -- at least legitimate in the sense they reflect what's on the books. This incident seems by far the most alarming, but it doesn't seem like it will be the last.
posted 5:40 am PST | Permalink

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