News ID: 262418
Published: 0955 GMT December 03, 2019

New Zealand newspaper publishes cartoon mocking Samoa measles crisis

New Zealand newspaper publishes cartoon mocking Samoa measles crisis

A New Zealand newspaper caused outrage for publishing a cartoon that made light of the measles crisis engulfing Samoa, which has killed 55 people so far, most of them children under the age of four.

According to the Guardian, The Otago Daily Times published the cartoon in Tuesday’s newspaper from artist Chris Tremain, which depicted two white women walking out of a travel agent, one saying to the other, “I asked ‘What are the least popular spots at the moment?’ She said, ‘The ones people are picking up in Samoa.’”

The newspaper issued an apology on Tuesday afternoon, saying, “The content and timing of the cartoon were insensitive, and we apologize without reservation for publishing it.”

Samoa has been gripped by a devastating measles outbreak over the past six weeks. There have been almost 4,000 confirmed cases in a country of just 200,000 people and 55 people have died, 50 of them children under four.

The paper’s editor, Barry Stewart, added in the apology that he would review the paper’s selection process for cartoons.

Stewart acknowledged the outbreak meant people were suffering “real hurt and real tragedy.”

“This should have been our starting point when considering publishing the cartoon. That it was not was a deeply regrettable error in judgment,” he wrote.

The cartoon provoked outrage on Twitter.

A New Zealand journalist, Michael Field, who has written a book on Samoa, called the paper “nasty and cruel”

“They have a cartoon that mocks Samoa for its pain. What other newspaper would laugh at dead children?” he wrote.

Anna Powles, a senior lecturer in Pacific security at Massey University in New Zealand, wrote that the newspaper had only issued a “half-baked apology” for what was a “disgraceful” and “absolutely abhorrent” cartoon.





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