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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Freedom of Expression in Broad Strokes Exhibit in Wetaskiwin from October 10 – 20, 2011

Exhibit in Wetaskiwin from October 10 – 20, 2011
(Canadian Commission for UNESCO Press Release) – The Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom have launched a traveling exhibition of editorial cartoons entitled Freedom of Expression in Broad Strokes.
The exhibit is being shown at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on May 3, UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. It will then travel across Canada where it will be displayed in cities that are members of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination. Liberty of expression and freedom of the press remain elusive, as cartoonists working under repressive regimes ‐ and even in some democratic countries ‐ face very real threats and dangers. In some countries, cartoonists, like their journalistic colleagues, are threatened with intimidation and physical assault. But as the exhibit shows, the clever cartoonist often uses humour or a nuanced message to escape the direct attention of the censor.  
“The editorial cartoon offers a daily commentary on a current news event. Through satire, humour and caricature, cartoonists offer a unique point of view. Freedom of expression is as critical to the cartoonist’s work as it is to all journalists. The exhibit presents many facets of freedom of expression and freedom of the press as depicted by cartoonists from around the world”, said David A. Walden, Secretary‐General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
Since 2001, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF) have organized an annual international competition for editorial cartoonists in conjunction with the awarding of the CCWPF Press Freedom Award to a Canadian journalist who has suffered in the cause of press freedom. Over 700 cartoons are received each year, and the winners are honoured in Ottawa on World Press Freedom Day. The exhibit presents the best editorial cartoons received since the beginning of the competition.
In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Day is also now used to draw attention to the dangers faced by journalists when reporting the news.  In 2010, 87 journalists were killed, while a further 51 were kidnapped, and more than one thousand media workers including cartoonists were physically attacked or threatened with violence while doing their job.