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Mexican cartoonist receives CRNI Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning

(CRNI/IFEX) - July 1, 2009 - Cartoonists Rights Network International is the world's only free speech and human rights organization dedicated exclusively to the needs of political cartoonists. CRNI President Joel Pett (Lexington Herald-Leader) announced today the winner of their annual Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning.

This year's winner is Mexican cartoonist Mario Robles.

Robles, who works for the newspaper Noticias Voz e Imagen in Oaxaca, was assaulted on April 19, 2009 for a cartoon that made fun of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) over a crackdown on public demonstrations. According to the human rights organization ARTICLE 19, local agents of the PRI party approached Robles and started kicking him, leaving him with visible wounds. They said he should stop drawing such critical cartoons or they would kill him and his family.

Robles has been a recognized and respected political cartoonist for over 30 years. He has won the State Journalistic Award 6 times in Oaxaca.

Robles, in an interview on May 20th with CRNI, said that he received a tremendous amount of support from the public in Oaxaca. This has helped insulate him from further attacks.

CRNI President Joel Pett said that Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists report, Attacks on the Press in 2008, "Since 2000, at least 24 journalists have been killed, eight in direct retaliation for their work. Seven others have disappeared since 2005."

Mario Robles is the first Latino cartoonist who has won the award. Last year's winner was Palestinian cartoonist Baha Boukhari. Robles will be presented the award in a ceremony in Seattle, Washington State, on the 3rd of July at the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartooning.

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