Robert (Bro) Russell

In October, 2019, at the annual meeting of CRNI, Bro was honored by having the annual CRNI award renamed in his honor as "The Robert Russell Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning." The society has been presenting this award for the past 15 years.  At this year's ceremony it was noted that last two or three recipients had either been freed from prison, or in some cases, relocated to safe haven countries where they could continue producing hard-hitting, political commentary cartoons.


Bro said of the award:  Any of such recognitions always emanate from the Giants on whose shoulders we chose to stand. I admonish every CIE member today and in the past to tightly adhere to the Giants they have chosen. [10-19]


In April, 2019 the organization that Bro founded and has been directing for the last 25 years, Cartoonists Rights Network International, was named one of the 2019 Freedom of Expression Awards Fellows in the Campaigning category by Index, the voice of free expression, a program based in London, England. (View Video about the award here.)


In September, Bro will retire as the executive Director.  He says it has been one of the honors of his life to be able to rub elbows with these brave and outstanding journalists, who risk their lives while working under some of the most despotic, brutal and deadly dictatorships in the world.


For nearly 20 years now CRNI has been granting its own award the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning to the cartoonist who is in the most danger somewhere in the world because of the power and impact of their editorial cartoons.


Bro also said that some of the old-timers who were around CIE during the late 70's, will remember the activity he worked on with a group of UMass undergraduates, the Fun Bus, a project of the CIE and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He said CRNI was the Fun Bus's baby [4/19]


Earlier Bro wrote about CRNI

We are the only NGO in the world dedicated exclusively to monitoring and protecting the free speech rights of political cartoonists…,” he said. “Political cartoonists all over the world experience differing levels of censorship. This censorship ranges from polite slaps on the wrist by an irritated regime, to severe beatings and occasionally an assassination.


Previously, Bro wrote about the award that CRNI bestows: In June, 2013, I returned from the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists in Salt Lake City. CRNI presents our Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning at this annual convention. This was our 13th year giving what some recipients have called the Nobel Prize for political cartoonists.


In 2012, Bro was presented the annual Ink Bottle Award by the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), for the non-cartoonist who has contributed the most to the field of editorial cartooning each year.


Prior to his work with CRNI, Bro spent over two decades in Africa and Asia as a consultant in institutional development and humanitarian assistance. [3/17]





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