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Drawing Political Cartoons in Egypt

The new VJ Movement has posted videos of some cartoonists around the world who face the pressures and struggles of drawing cartoons in areas where press freedoms are not well established.

Sherif Arafa, the cartoonist for the state-run Alittihad newspaper in Egypt (view his cartoon archive here), faces a daily struggle to voice his criticism without triggering the censors in a country where free speech is too often trampled upon.

One of the best measure of political freedom is whether cartoonists are allowed to draw their own leaders. Working for a government-run newspaper, Sherif is not allowed to criticize religion or to draw about specific politicians, such as President Hosni Mubarak. As a way around that, he created a character called “The Responsible” so he could say what he wanted.

Here are a couple of Sherif's recent cartoons: