News Brief

The Rwandan Government Has Banned Cartoons That 'Humiliate' Government Officials

The sharing of such cartoons is now considered a criminal offense, punishable by jail time.

The Rwandan government doesn't seem to find political cartoons the least bit funny.

The government, led by president Paul Kagame, has revised a penal code making the sharing of cartoons that "humiliate" government officials a criminal offense, punishable by up to two years in prison, or a fine of up to one million Rwandan francs ($1,152), reports Quartz Africa. Any "inflammatory" content aimed at the president, however, could lead to a fine of 7 million Rwandan francs and between five to seven years of jail time.

"Any person who, verbally, by gestures or threats, in writings or cartoons, humiliates a member of parliament when exercising his/her mandate, a member of the Cabinet, security officers or any other person in charge of a public service in the performance or in connection with the performance of his/her duties, commits an offence," the law says.


It is not yet known if people who share cartoons on social media will be affected by the new law, reports ABC News.

According to IOL News South Africa, the Rwanda Journalist Association has strongly contested the ban, calling it a blow to media profession as well as an infringement on the freedom of the press "In the trade of journalism, cartoons are by nature humorous. Leaders may perceive them negatively or as humiliating even when they're not," said the association's executive secretary Gonza Muganwa.

International observers have also called the move an attack on journalists' and citizens' freedom of expression.






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Kayode Kasum’s Quarantine Watchlist

From 'Wives on Strike' to 'Goodwill Hunting' here's what the Nigerian filmmaker is watching while stuck at home in Lagos.

Kayode Kasum, like most filmmakers, has been stagnated by the coronavirus pandemic. The director behind the blockbuster Sugar Rush and the critically acclaimed Oga Bolaji was working on the post-production of his upcoming movies, The Fate of Alakada: Party Planner and Kambili—a collaboration between FilmOne Entertainment and Chinese Huahua Media— when the Nigerian government announced the lockdown order.

While post-production on Alakada has concluded, the stay-at-home orders have delayed work on Kambili. "Since the team cannot meet at a single point, we are moving hard drives left and right," he says to me over the phone from his home in Lagos. "It is a challenge, but the beautiful thing about a challenge is, when you make it work, it is fulfilling."

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Kasum has turned to books and films for an escape from the unpleasant realities of the pandemic. "I have been reading Elnathan's books: Born on a Tuesday and Becoming Nigeria," he tells me. "I have also been reading film directing books, Directing Actors by Judith Weston." However, Kasum longs for the movies. "I miss going to the cinemas; I miss that experience," he says. "There are times during this pandemic that I'm like 'na wa o, I wish I can go to the cinema.'"

Below are five films he recommends you watch during this pandemic.

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