LAUGHING AWAY DESPOTS

Who will win war between state and satirists?

Cartoonists and satirists - the bane o state and bureaucrats - are Kenya's canaries in the coal mine, warning if the air is fit for free speech and democracy.

In Summary

• True to form, the state’s over-reaction to the ridicule worked to Kiama’s advantage, exposing its intolerance and brutality and inspiring even more online memes and derision

• The democratisation of satire by the internet and social media makes it much more difficult for the state to either control or ignore them

“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed,” declared Frederick Douglass, the 19th Century American abolitionist, who had himself escaped slavery. He was discussing the ...

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