As i am now in Denmark i should mention that this country was at the centre of a media storm in Sept of 2005. This caused a controversy over the freedom of POLITICAL Satire and its role in the media of any democracy.
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic andperforming arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.
A common feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—”in satire, irony is militant”—but parody,burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. This “militant” irony or sarcasm often professes to approve of (or at least accept as natural) the very things the satirist wishes to attack.
Satire is nowadays found in many artistic forms of expression, including literature, plays, commentary, and media such as lyrics.
from wiki here is some background on the Danish cartoon controversy.
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of whichdepicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005. The newspaper announced that this publication was an attempt to contribute to the debate regarding criticism of Islam and self-censorship.
Danish Muslim organizations that objected to the depictions responded by holding public protests attempting to raise awareness of Jyllands-Posten‘s publication. Further examples of the cartoons were soonreprinted in newspapers in more than 50 other countries, further deepening the controversy.
Four months later, Muslims protested across the Islamic world, some of which escalated into violence with instances of firing on crowds of protestors resulting in a total of more than 100 reported deaths, including the bombing of the Danish embassy in Pakistan and setting fire to the Danish Embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, storming European buildings, and burning the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, French and German flags in Gaza City. Various groups, primarily in the Western world, responded by endorsing the Danish policies, including “Buy Danish” campaigns and other displays of support. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the controversy as Denmark’s worst international crisis since World War II.
Critics of the cartoons described them as Islamophobic or racist, and argued that they are blasphemousto people of the Muslim faith, are intended to humiliate a Danish minority, or are a manifestation of ignorance about the history of Western imperialism.
Supporters have said that the cartoons illustrated an important issue in a period of Islamic terrorism and explained that their publication is a legitimate exercise of the right of free speech, explicitly tied to the issue of self-censorship. They explained that Muslims were not targeted in a discriminatory way, since unflattering cartoons about other religions (or their leaders) are frequently printed..
The intent of the Danish media with this incident was essentially to integrate Islam into a democratic process that holds the right to freedom of expression in the press via the cartoon imagery. From the Jyllands-Posten’s culture editor:
The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where one must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is of minor importance in the present context. […] we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him. […]
The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims.
History of Editorial cartoonFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An editorial cartoon, also known as a non cartoon, is an illustration containing a commentary that usually relates to current events or personalities.
They typically combine artistic skill, hyperbole and biting humour in order to question authorityand draw attention to corruption and other social ills.Notable editorial cartoons include Benjamin Franklin‘s “Join, or Die” (1754), on the need for unity in the American colonies; “The Thinkers Club” (1819), a response to the surveillance and censorship of universities in Germany under the Carlsbad Decrees; and E. H. Shepard‘s “The Goose-Step” (1936), on the rearmament of Germany under Hitler. “The Goose-Step” is one of a number of notable cartoons first published in the British Punch magazine.History
Editorial cartoons and editorial cartoonists are recognised by a number of awards, for example thePulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning (for US cartoonists, since 1922) and the British Press Awards‘ “Cartoonist of the Year”.
Modern political cartoons
Political cartoons can usually be found on the editorial page of most newspapers, although a few (such as Garry Trudeau‘s Doonesbury) are sometimes found on the regular comic strip page. A good collection of modern editorial cartoons can be found in each issue of magazines like theHumor Times and Funny Times. Recently, many radical or minority issue editorial cartoonists, who would previously have been obscure, have found large audiences on the Internet (a medium which also makes it possible to publish animated political cartoons). Cartoons can be very diverse, but there is a certain established style among most of them. Most use visual metaphors and caricatures to address complicated political situations, and thus sum up a current event with a humorous or emotional picture. Often, their content includes stereotypical, biased and/ordemonizing portrayals of people and events.
In modern political cartooning two styles have begun to emerge. The traditional style, involving visual metaphors and symbols like Uncle Sam, the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant, and labels is described as the “nast-y” style (named after Thomas Nast), and the more text-heavy “altie” style that tells a linear story, usually in comic strip format.[original research?]Although their style, technique or viewpoints may differ, editorial cartoonists draw attention to important social and political issues. Political cartoons are an effective way for artists to express their thoughts about the events in a certain period in a comical manner.
A pocket cartoon is a form of editorial cartoon which consists of a topical single-panel single-column drawing. It was introduced by Osbert Lancaster in 1939 at the Daily Express. A 2005 obituary by The Guardian of its pocket cartoonist David Austin said “Newspaper readers instinctively look to the pocket cartoon to reassure them that the disasters and afflictions besetting them each morning are not final. By taking a sideways look at the news and bringing out the absurd in it, the pocket cartoonist provides, if not exactly a silver lining, then at least a ray of hope.”