“Editorial cartoonists are like canaries in the press freedom coal mine.”
Cartoons offers political cartoon services for print and online publications. “We differ from other syndicates in that we represent top editorial cartoonists from around the world,” explained Daryl Cagle, founder of the company. “Our sites are the face of American editorial cartooning to the world and the source of top international editorial cartoonists for American newspaper editors – this is often a difficult place to be.”
It’s a difficult place to be, because though jocular in nature, Cagle cartoonists get to the heart of political matters affecting people's daily lives. “Editorial cartoonists are like canaries in the press freedom coal mine,” Cagle related. “Our Cagle.com site is now blocked by the governments in Iran and Pakistan, and sometimes in other countries. Our political cartoonist colleagues around the world are often imprisoned, harassed and beaten by governments that can’t accept criticism in the form of cartoons. More than half of the world's population lives in nations where cartoonists are not allowed to draw their nation’s leader.”
Often times Cagles’ sites are attacked, brought down, and at the worst, entirely compromised. “We’ve suffered devastating DDoS and other kinds of attacks,” Cagle remarked, “especially since the murders of our friends at Charlie Hebdo and the Sony hack (when our site was all about Kim Jong Un). On a couple of occasions the hackers broke through and erased the data on our servers, bringing us down for days. The attacks evolved with different strategies that would take us down repeatedly and take up many tech hours, reworking our defenses and repairing the damage., I’m advised that the sophistication and intensity of past attacks against Cagle.com implied that they were state sponsored.”
A Helping Hand
Despite the attacks, Cagle and team refuse to back down. “We are very small,” Cagle noted, “but more than half of America’s daily, paid-circulation newspapers subscribe to our service. The Project Galileo program is important for us, and by extension, for editorial cartoonists around the world. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to afford the tools it provides and we would struggle to hang on.”
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