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

February 28, 2011

South Africa HRC Dismisses Zapiro Rape Cartoon Complaint

imageThe South African Human Rights Commission last week dismissed a complaint brought by Young Communist League National Secretary Buti Manamela claiming that Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro's 2008 "Rape Of Lady Justice" cartoon violated the dignity of its target, Jacob Zuma, now the country's president. The commission came down on the side of the right of a journalist to criticize a politician and on the cartoon's value to add to political discourse.

Zapiro defended his cartoon in a written submission to the commission, where he claimed a right to freedom of expression, going so far as to explain why each of the people holding down justice were included as doing so.

Although the decision came down very strong for Zapiro's side, those making the charges cited the panel's declaration that the cartoon was offensive and distasteful.

The award-winning cartoons, certainly by now the most famous in Zapiro's long and distinguished career, is presently the subject of a major lawsuit by Zuma against the cartoonist.
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink

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