Are Corporations Threatening Freedom Of Speech?

Freedom of speech is something that we, as humans, enjoy. But are big corporations starting to threaten that right?

Photo from Rick Friday's Facebook page

Photo from Rick Friday’s Facebook page

One cartoonist would say so. Rick Friday, a freelancer for an Iowa-based newspaper ‘Farm News,’ was recently axed by the publication for a drawing he made that seems to put some of the big agricultural corporations that one of the paper’s advertisers is affiliated with in a negative light.

It all started when Farm News published a cartoon drawn by Rick Friday as part of a series entitled, ‘‘It’s Friday!” a sketch that the paper ran for 21 years. In the drawing, two farmers can be seen conversing with each other, with one saying that he wishes there were more money in farming. ”There is,” responded the second farmer, adding ”In year 2015 the CEOs of Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and John Deere combined made more money than 2129 Iowa farmers.”

Apparently, a client that has a partnership with one of the three agricultural companies that Friday pointed out in the sketch didn’t take the cartoon lightly, so much so that they immediately stopped advertising on the paper. And since Farm News, a publication offered for free in its area of circulation, heavily depends on their sponsors to pay their bills, those guys just can’t afford to lose any more of their advertisers – leading to the cartoonist getting the ax.

It didn’t take long before Friday publicized his ordeal on his Facebook account.

”I am no longer the Editorial Cartoonist for Farm News,” Rick Friday wrote on Facebook, referencing the incident about his sketch that led to him losing his job with the newspaper.

”Apparently a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon was insulted and cancelled their advertisement with the paper, thus, resulting in the reprimand of my editor and cancellation of It’s Friday cartoons after 21 years of service and over 1090 published cartoons to over 24,000 households per week in 33 counties of Iowa.”

”I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon.”

”That’s okay, hopefully my children and my grandchildren will see that this last cartoon published by Farm News out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, will shine light on how fragile our rights to free speech and free press really are in the country.”

Freedom of speech has been threatened since the 1800s, with French caricaturist Honore Daumier getting imprisoned for his comedic drawing of Emperor Louis Philippe. In the 1980s, a critic of Middle Eastern leaders was killed outside his newspaper’s London office after a sketch that appeared on his publication. Four cartoonists from the satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ was killed by Muslim extremists in an incident that resulted to 12 deaths in January 2015. Cartoonists were also fired across Venezuela and South Africa for irritating political leaders – further cementing the notion that freedom of speech continues to be attacked by all kinds of forces.

What do you think of these big corporations threatening freedom of speech? Let us know in the comments below and like & share this article.

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