Friday, April 9, 2010

Iran's Bittersweet Blogosphere -- Through A Cartoonist's Eyes

Among a first-rate group of panelists who will take part in the April 12 “Iran’s Blogosphere and Grassroots Voices” conference at George Washington University, Iranian political cartoonist Nikahang Kowsar stands out.

One of Iran’s top political cartoonists before being thrown in jail in 2000 for having offended an Iranian ayatollah he nicknamed “Professor Crocodile,” Nikahang subsequently left Iran for Canada, where he currently resides. He is a regular blogger and contributor to citizen journalist websites, and has a sizeable presence on Facebook – some 11,000 friends in all!

Although you may not know his name, you have almost undoubtedly seen his work, especially in the wake of Iran’s contested June presidential elections. His drawings have been reproduced on CNN and BBC, as well as in leading U.S. and European newspapers. As this YouTube video of a recent talk he gave at Johns Hopkins University demonstrates, he is candid, witty, but also passionate about his country and the plight of Iranian bloggers and journalists inside and outside of Iran.

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