Embattled Cartoonist Zunar Wins Freedom Award

Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, the irrepressible cartoonist for the Malaysian news website Malaysiakini, is due to go on trial this month, facing nine counts of sedition and a potential 43 years in prison basically for lampooning the suave Prime Minister Najib Razak and his portly, domineering wife Rosmah Mansor, who invariably appears in the cartoons with a RM1,200 price tag stuck to her giant bouffant hairdo and a gigantic diamond ring, a reference to the fact that she once had a RM24 million diamond ring shipped to her from a New York jeweler. A Birkin handbag is often in the picture . The cartoonist’s mascot is a tiny ineffectual policeman, continually blowing “twit-twit” his whistle.

Zunar earlier this month became the first full-time cartoonist to receive the International Press Freedom Award from the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. In his acceptance speech in New York, Zunar said it is “both my responsibility and my right as a citizen to expose corruption, wrongdoing and injustice.” His mission, he said, is to fight through cartoons. “I will keep drawing until the last drop of my ink.”

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If it is sedition to make serious fun of a demonstrably corrupt prime minister and his money-grubbing wife, we are with sedition all the way. In support of a courageous and daring individual, supported by an equally courageous news organization, we present a selection of Zunar’s cartoons.

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