Several cartoonists have taken to task those behind leaflets containing derogatory caricatures of leaders from Pakatan Rakyat and electoral reforms coalition Bersih for hiding behind a shield of anonymity in aiding Barisan Nasional's agenda.
Calling such artists as 'phantom cartoonists', 13 local cartoonists from Kumpulan Kartunis Independen have urged the anonymous cartoonists to abide by "universally recognized moral code of ethics for cartoonists" by taking responsibility of their works.
"The universally recognized moral code of ethics for cartoonists are that they must put their names in the form of signatures to show that they really know what they are drawing, that they will be responsible to the messages and they are prepared to take any imminent risk on the drawings.
"The actions of these phantom cartoonists are a shame and a disgrace to the Malaysian cartoonists in general and thus must be stopped," said KKI leader Zulkiflee Anwarul Haque, or Zunar in a statement to Harakahdaily.
Twelve others who signed the statement include Nor Azlin Ngah (Jonos), Azmie Md Taha, Johnny Ong, Azman Md Noh (AMN), Mohd Afendi Ramli (Ronasina), Abdullah Jones, Amier Hamzah Hashim, (Ibnukaduk), Azhar Saad (Art), Azlan Isa (Orang2), Sham Saimun Ezil (Along) and Lili Zam (Haili).
-Their response comes in the wake of several incidents of booklets containing sexually-explicit cartoons attacking PR leaders being distributed in public places, including mosques and schools.
"The content of these cartoons are merely but personal attack on Pakatan Rakyat and Bersih leaders. While respecting the right and freedom of cartoonists, we strongly maintain that cartoonists must be responsible of their drawings and the content of their work," the statement added.
Challenging the 'phantom cartoonists' to reveal themselves and state their political stance in public, KKI also invited those involved to an open debate on the ethics of cartooning.
"We are prepared to take them on anywhere at any time," they said.