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.

About availability in Singapore: please visit this page.

Finalist in the Media & Cultural Studies and Graphic Nonfiction categories of the Association of American Publishers PROSE Awards honoring scholarly works published in 2021. >>

“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 teaching 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.


Cherian George is professor of media studies at Hong Kong Baptist University’s journalism department, where he researches media and power, including press freedom, censorship and hate propaganda. He is the author of five books, including Hate Spin: The Manufacture of Religious Offense and its Threat to Democracy (MIT Press, 2016). Before turning to academia, he was a journalist, including three years heading the art department of the Straits Times. > More

Sonny Liew is a cartoonist best known for The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Epigram, 2015 & Pantheon, 2016), which won three Eisner Awards including Best Writer/Artist. His other works include The Shadow Hero (with Gene Luen Yang), Doctor Fate (with Paul Levitz) and Malinky Robot, as well as titles for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, DC Vertigo, First Second Books, Boom Studios, Disney Press and Image Comics. > More

Contact us via our respective personal websites.


Cherian presented this video at the International Communication Association annual conference 2021, in a panel on Multimodal Research, Teaching, and Publishing. Click the CC button at the bottom of the video window to read the subtitles.


Why a book about censorship couldn’t show everything. Read Cherian’s article.


Please visit the For Media page on this website.


If you represent a bookstore and would like to stock our book, please contact your regular associate at Penguin Random House, or write to Brynne Crawley (bcrawley) at the MIT Press (@mit.edu).


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