24 Jun 2020

Vanuatu newspaper apologises for misguided satire

12:58 pm on 24 June 2020
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Photo: Vanuatu Daily Post

Vanuatu's Daily Post newspaper has apologised for a cartoon on racism that it ran at the weekend.

The illustration, by a regular cartoonist going by the name Kranki Kona, sparked outrage among some readers.

The cartoon depicts a man in the waiting room of a maternity ward being told by a doctor: "Your wife is fine, however, as expected, your baby was born black - we still have no vaccine or cure for that".

Visual cues in the piece refer to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Daily Post said it apologised to readers who found the cartoon offensive, saying this was not "at all intentional".

It said the cartoon was intended as satire with a message that racism was like a virus seemingly without a cure, but that many readers seemed not to have grasped the true meaning behind the piece.

The attempt at satire missed the mark with some readers taking to social media to say the cartoon was unacceptably racist.

However, the newspaper's statement said that sarcasm, irony and satire were regular tools used by cartoonists. In this case, it said the cartoonist was trying to highlight the problem of racism.

"If it was a racist cartoon, it goes without saying that the Daily Post would not have published it.

"However, at no time has any Kranki Kona personally attacked anyone who was the subject of a cartoon, and at no time has it supported racism or any other destructive or divisive idea."