Banner image: Tuncay Akgun sketches a caricature of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the cover of the Turkish satirical magazine, LeMan. [Photo: Cherian George]
This is the companion website to a book by Cherian George & Sonny Liew. Red Lines: Political Cartoons and the Struggle against Censorship, published by The MIT Press in 2021, explores the motives and methods of the political censorship of cartoons around the world. It is rendered entirely as in graphic documentary form.
Visit the MIT Press site for ordering information.
“The political cartoon is the art form of our deeply troubled world, and this brilliant, disturbing, and ultimately hopeful book is far and away the definitive guide.” – Vincent Mosco, author of The Political Economy of Communication and The Digital Sublime.
“This brilliant tribute to political cartoons is not only a visual feast, but also an in-depth treatise on contemporary threats to freedom of expression posed by governments, corporations, and grassroots forces ranging from religious extremists to well-meaning champions of social justice.” – Nadine Strossen, Past President of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991–2008) and Professor of Law Emerita, New York Law School.
“Few books grab a reader as Red Lines does. A history, an analysis, a cri de couer, a celebration of ideas and art and human rights, all wrapped in an endlessly fascinating example of ‘show, not tell.'” – David Kaye, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression (2014-2020) and Clinical Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine.
“What Red Lines, a book whose few flaws are entirely overcome by its hugely ambitious scope and its determination to avoid simplistic moralizing, accomplishes is laying out a baseline for the discussion of this topic, of defining its scope and its consequences, and of making us understand the rules by which the battle has been fought in the past so that we can better comprehend the nature of the fight in the future.” — Leonard Pierce, The Comics Journal. Read the review.
“Immediately following the 2015 attack, it was almost impossible to condemn the attack while also being critical of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. George does not shy away from this question, giving equal attention to defenders of Charlie Hebdo cartoons and to people that argue that the anti-Islam cartoons targeted an already stigmatized and discriminated group, French Muslims.” – Tjeerd Royaards, Cartoon Movement. Read the review.
“This is THE book for reaching about political cartoons and their vital importance to shape the world.” – Tim Smyth, Teaching With Comics, @historycomics.
“Red Lines might not be beach reading, but it surely belongs on the syllabus of any media studies class as it sets the standard for discussion of this topic.” – Rob Salkowitz, Department of Communication, University of Washington; and author, Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture. Read the review.
Cartoonists as the guerrillas of the news media
“What makes satirical cartooning such a potentially radical and powerful medium is that you don’t need much to do it. You don’t need a lot of capital or an organization behind you. That makes cartoonists the guerrillas of the media — but it also makes them more vulnerable.” – Read the Center for Media@Risk interview with Cherian George.