Cartooning and Free Speech: When Human Rights Meet Humor

Activity: Talk and presentationProfessional or public presentationPopular


The right to freely express oneself through humour and satire is vital for democratic life; this can also include material that might ‘offend, shock or disturb’ part of the audience (as famously stated by the European Court of Human Rights in Handyside v. United Kingdom, 1976). In particular, due to their compact format and visual creativity, cartoons can be an especially powerful way to humorously comment on societal and political issues. For the same reasons, in all parts of the world, cartoons are also often at the centre of legal cases revolving around freedom of speech and its limits.

How do courts of law deal with cartoons (and humour in general) in different geographical and cultural contexts? And what international mechanisms are in place to protect cartoonists’ freedom of expression? These questions and more will be discussed during the lecture, in light of findings from ongoing research projects on humour, free speech and the law.
Event titleDe Ontmaskerde Macht - Internationale politieke cartoons in beeld
Event typeExhibition
LocationGroningen, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Humor
  • Cartoons
  • Free speech
  • Satire