LAHORE: Leading American political cartoonist Daryl Cagle has said that contrary to popular belief that cartoons have a universal appeal, political cartoons are deeply embedded in their socio-political environment, where caricatures could be understood and create humor within the context of everyday life of a society.
Speaking from the Washington DC via live video link, Cagle, who currently works for the cable news channel MSNBC, ran through his samples of Pakistani political cartoonists and journalists and later held a question and answer session for the audience. The veteran cartoonist said that from the sample of the Pakistani cartoonists’ works that he saw, he found the caricatures politically poignant and direct.
Cagle stated that since electronic and social media now dominates over the printing press and people are increasingly tuning in to television for news rather than read newspapers, the cartoon media in the US has adapted to modern trends by diversifying itself. He said that cartoon blogs and syndicated drawings were playing an important role in his country’s media industry.
The popular cartoonist, who started drawing professionally in 1979, said that in the US, cartoons were still a very popular medium and there were generally no restrictions or censorship on what cartoonists wanted to draw. Pakistani cartoonists present in the audience claimed that for them there were plenty of social and political taboos that hampered their flight of imagination.
After observing a sample work of Cagle, a leading Pakistani cartoonist claimed that it was almost impossible to draw caricatures depicting judiciary and religious institutions in Pakistan, as opposed to the US. He added that barring a few exceptions, one could draw almost everything under the sun in the US and that included the Pope too.
Pakistani journalists present at the seminar also shared their experiences and insight into the political reporting situation of the country. One of the participants felt that the trending medium of drawing cartoons was giving way to the onslaught of the electronic media and there were no established traditions of electronic or syndicated cartooning.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2012.
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