Editorial cartoonist Kal (Kevin Kallaugher) recently returned from a cartoon diplomacy trip to Azerbaijan and notes that the country is trying to find itself in terms of freedom of expression after years of Communist single party rule.
An excerpt from Kal’s post:
You would expect to find suppression of free thinkers like cartoonists in authoritarian regimes. But there are many new emerging democracies that are also struggling with issues of freedom of expression.
Many of these young democracies are former soviet era protectorates. After decades of Communist single party rule they have no tradition of robust, healthy and open political debate. These nationâ??s powerbrokers are skeptical and distrustful of criticism. These new countries struggle to embrace political dissent in the media and cartoons.
Azerbaijan is one of these countries.
Azerbaijan is a small secular Islamic nation of enormous potential. It is blessed with a literate population, a strategic location and an important resource: oil.
It is also a democracyâ?¦ of sorts