Monday, 21 May 2012

A Note From Zunar: Decision On Civil Case This Week

May 21, 2012

A Note From Zunar: Decision On Civil Case This Week

The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar issued a press notice yesterday to remind that a decision will be rendered in two days on his civil suit against police political authorities in his country regarding his unlawful detention a couple of years ago due to the content of his bookCartoon-O-Phobia. The cartoonist was held for two days, was investigated under the Sedition Act, and if my memory serves was picked up right before some crucial publicity-style events designed to drive sales of that volume. One of the key concerns in the suit is that Zunar was arrested before the books were publicly available, which combined with the fact that no one has come close to rioting or anything like that due to Zunar's cartoons, puts some stress on officials' claims that there was some sort of imminent danger that called for the cartoonist's detention.

Due to Malaysian law, the court could also decide that Zunar has to pay the government about 8000 Euros for bringing the case in the first place. This also to my mind doesn't really get at a key of the Zunar matter, which is the chilling effect the government's actions have had on the artist's ability to print and distribute his comics in his home country just generally, due to potential partners and commercial allies being frightened away. Even so, there are preferred outcomes here, obviously. So all eyes on Kuala Lumpur.

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