Zapiro must make amends, says religious forum

The Western Cape Religious Leaders' Forum (WCRLF) said on Thursday that cartoonist Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro must apologise for denigrating Hinduism in a recent cartoon.

"We commend the creativity of the renowned cartoonist, Jonathan Shapiro, as a free spirit and an upholder of values that we all respect and applaud – those of justice, fairness and respect," the WCRLF said in a statement.

"We therefore call upon him to exercise his vocation by respecting the religious sensitivities of his fellow compatriots."

The forum said Shapiro and the newspaper should make amends for the hurt and offence caused by reaching out to the faith in a spirit of "reconciliation and contrition".

The cartoon, which was carried on Shapiro's website on Sunday and by the Sunday Times, shows Lord Ganesha holding a cricket bat and money, while Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief exectuive Haroon Lorgat, who is shown tied up on an altar, is about to be stabbed as a sacrifice by two CSA officials.


The cartoon refers to the CSA agreeing that Lorgat will play no part in India's abridged cricket tour to South Africa, after its hand was apparently forced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Formal complaints
​According to reports, formal complaints against the cartoon would be laid with the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

On Tuesday, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) expressed concern at outrage over the cartoon.

"The importance of artistic expression is the provocation and facilitation of crucial debate that is often ignored or 'brushed under the table'," it said in a statement.

"It is therefore important that such manner of expression is not censored in favour of personal interests that are far outweighed by the public good. In a manner of speaking, we cannot have topics being 'out of bounds'."

The FXI said an order prohibiting the use of Hindu deities or symbols in different contexts would amount to blanket censorship.

"As regards the case in point … the outrage by the Hindu community has had the effect of deflecting from the true issue at hand that the cartoon sought to bring to the fore," the FXI said.

"This is negative to the objects of the right to freedom of expression." – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

Gamechangers: The morphing landscape of South Africa’s media

Two books on two media outlets, Daily Maverick and Independent newspapers, tell stories of success and failure

Democracy and charisma: A dangerous liaison

In India and the Philippines, strongmen have consolidated immense power through democratic means. How do we explain this?

The end of Gandhi’s India

The current dispensation is becoming a majoritarian Hindu state as Narendra Modi promotes hatred and intolerance of Muslims and minorities

Democracy in India faces meltdown

The nationalist government is using violence, repression an the law to deny Muslims citizenship

Zapiro needs to take a hard look in the mirror

It’s a pity that the cartoonist's work is still able to hurt so many who encounter it even casually, writes the Daily Vox team.

Shree Laxmi’s walk in the City of Gold

What would the Goddess be met with, were she to walk the streets of Johannesburg?
Advertising

Subscribers only

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Q&A Sessions: ‘I think I was born way before my...

The chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the deputy chair of the SABC board, shares her take on retrenchments at the public broadcaster and reveals why she hates horror movies

More top stories

DRC: Tshisekedi and Kabila fall out

The country’s governing coalition is under strain, which could lead to even more acrimony ahead

Editorial: Crocodile tears from the coalface

Pumping limited resources into a project that is predominantly meant to extend dirty coal energy in South Africa is not what local communities and the climate needs.

Klipgat residents left high and dry

Flushing toilets were installed in backyards in the North West, but they can’t be used because the sewage has nowhere to go

Nehawu leaders are ‘betraying us’

The accusation by a branch of the union comes after it withdrew from a parliamentary process
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…