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Cartoon an anti-corruption tool

Update: October, 29/2014 - 11:28
Between the lines: A cartoon by Nguyen Van Thuong reflecting corruption among traffic police won second prize in the recent contest for newspaper cartoons about corruption.

HA NOI (VNS) — Newspapers should publish more cartoons in order to educate the public about corruption, cartoonist Ly Truc Dung said at a seminar yesterday in Ha Noi.

In India and other countries with corruption problems, newspapers often published cartoons on the subject, he said. However, in Viet Nam, "cartoons don't have a worthy position. Many editors think they are something for fun to help fill up pages".

Dung, one of the most famous cartoonists in Viet Nam, pointed out that cartoons were historically a valuable means of social commentary. In his view, a good cartoon should fight for the abolition of bad practices whilst praising the good.

Without cartoons, a newspaper would be dry and uninteresting, said cartoonist Le Phuong, who won the top prize at a newspaper cartoon contest last month launched by the Centre for Media in Education Community (MEC) and HCM City's Phap Luat (Law) newspaper. His winning cartoon poked fun at people's ignorance of corruption.

Phuong said it was necessary to organise more such contests, going on to suggest that veteran artists like Dung mentor young cartoonists and pass on their time-tested techniques.

Addressing the fact that many contemporary cartoonists use computer applications to create cartoons, Phuong warned that relying on modern technology could hinder creativity.

"Most newspapers are printed in black and white, so some coloured cartoons can't be printed on newspapers because they become ‘empty' when their colours are discarded."

He also suggested that cartoonists use fewer words because the power of a cartoon was in the image. Many successful cartoonists in foreign countries used no captions, he said.

Former vice head of the Department on Corruption-related Crimes under the Ministry of Public Security Hoang Manh Chien appreciated cartoons' role in fighting corruption. — VNS

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