Cartoons that 'humiliate' officials in Rwanda now a crime

A new law in Rwanda says drawing cartoons or producing writing that "humiliates" a government official is now a criminal offense.

Journalists say the law that took effect on Thursday will greatly affect work that is meant to hold public officials, including Cabinet members and security officers, to account.

A cartoonist who breaks the law faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $1 145. If the cartoon targets a member of parliament or top-ranking official, the penalty doubles.

At least one Justice Ministry official is asking who will determine whether someone has been humiliated. The Rwanda Journalists Association's executive secretary says it's easy for officials to take cartoons negatively.

Defaming Rwanda's head of state already was illegal, bringing five to seven years in prison.

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