There were mixed views about a newspaper cartoon depicting
African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma preparing to
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œrapeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the countryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s justice system, according to a report in Business Day.
The ANC alliance, whose leaders were depicted in the cartoon holding down a woman labelled ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œjustice systemÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, criticised ZapiroÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s cartoon published in the Sunday Times, and demanded an apology from the newspaper.
In a statement the alliance said the cartoonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s depiction of the collective leadership of the tripartite alliance and ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œa string of errorsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the newspaper continued to make in its reporting, called into question the integrity and credibility of Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya.
They said the publication of the cartoon amounted to an ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œabuse of press freedomÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Makhanya could not be reached for comment.
Anton Harber, Wits UniversityÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Caxton Professor of Journalism, said Zapiro (real name Jonathan Shapiro) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œpushed the bounds of good taste and fair commentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â in his ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œprovocativeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œbreathtakingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â cartoon.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI think in an open society we give space to our artists to be provocative and to push the envelope, even to shock us, even to offend us. He has certainly done that. Good for him, thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s what we want.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
He said the allianceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s reaction was expected but its leaders should realise that such comment is part of the nature of a free society.
When asked if he would have published the cartoon, the former editor said ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œyesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Tawana Kupe, Wits University Associate Professor of Media Studies, said cartoons were a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œhumorous take on thingsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, were subjective, not factual and took the nature of opinion.
He said there were two opinions on Zuma and the justice system: one was that he was undermining the justice system, and the other was that the system was raping him.
He said cartoonists produced work similar to works of fiction that should be taken for what it is.
Shapiro yesterday refused to apologise.
He told 702 Talk Radio that he felt Zuma and his supporters were ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œtrying to rapeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the judiciary and the tenets of the constitution.
Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.