| 9.1°C Dublin


Free speech? Blasphemy law could bankrupt a cartoonist. It's time we got rid of it. . .

Like most cartoonists I was shocked by the horrific shootings in Paris. Despite previous attacks on artists involved in the Danish cartoon controversy, it was the last thing we expected. But in hindsight it did not come out of the blue.

French cartoonists were not the first to die as a result of unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere. The Libyan cartoonist Kais al-Hilali was shot and killed while drawing a street mural during the civil war there. A Syrian artist, Akram Raslan, is feared dead after being arrested and detained by the Assad regime. Another Syrian cartoonist, Ali Ferzat, was beaten and left for dead with both hands broken. He survived and moved to Kuwait - where a cartoonist, Naif al-Mutawa, faces ISIL death threats for alleged heresy.