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Exhibit of political cartoonist's drawings censored by the National Institute for Culture

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 21 and 22 June 2007, officials of the National Institute for Culture (Instituto Nacional de Cultura, INC) ordered three of the ninety drawings of political cartoonist Piero Quijano's exhibition, "Dibujos en Prensa/1990-2007", to be withdrawn, according to declarations made to IPYS by Armando Williams, director of the José Carlos Mariátegui Museum, an institution supervised by the INC.

Williams received the order to withdraw two of the drawings a few minutes before the inauguration of the exhibition on 21 June, but decided to go ahead with the event with the agreement of the censored artist. The drawings illustrated articles that had been published in the newspapers "Perú 21" and "La República", about human rights violations and the possible privatization of the Machu Picchu ruins, respectively. According to Williams, the INC officials who banned the drawings were Soledad Mujica, director of Peruvian Records and Culture (Registros y Cultura Peruana), and Karina Moreno, of INC's communications department.

The following day, Karina Moreno ordered pulled from the exhibition a third cartoon, one depicting President Alan García that had appeared in "Somos", a magazine published by "El Comercio" newspaper. This made Williams and Quijano decide to cancel the exhibition altogether. Williams also resigned his position.

In a public statement, the INC denied having issued any orders to censor the drawings and blamed Williams for everything that happened regarding the exhibition.

IPYS considers these incidents alarming, and a product of obscurantist criteria that undermine freedom of expression. IPYS demands that they be immediately rectified, investigated and sanctioned.

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