More than a Message: Public Health Advocacy, Political Cartooning and COVID-19 Challenges in Pakistan

Ayesha Ashfaq, Joseph Russomanno

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Political cartooning has a long history in news media across the globe. The literature supports the view that these cartoons have the capacity to convey hard-hitting information within the context of satirical humor. Their importance and impact are unquestioned, including during times of crisis. Within the COVID-19 global pandemic, the unique focus that political cartoons place on a variety of institutions has been noteworthy. These include governments, especially those that have responded inadequately. Perhaps most notable is the United States. The degree of American government failure is highlighted when juxtaposed with similar failures of “Third World” nations and their governments. Pakistan is one example. During the pandemic, the approach of Pakistan’s government has been consistent with its past behavior - subjugating enemies while abandoning the public. Political cartoonists uniquely analyze events and issues through their visual commentary, often in ways that narrative op-ed pieces do not. This chapter examines political cartooning during the pandemic with a global focus, examining cartoons in the Pakistani news media primarily. Political cartooning was a kind of protective reaction to the alarming situation in which the world was found. Warning, mistrust, aggression, depression, frustration, loss, anger, disappointment, terror, and fear have been the most prominent labels that were reflected in almost all political cartoons of COVID-19 in Pakistan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCOVID-19 and a World of Ad Hoc Geographies
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783030943509
ISBN (Print)9783030943493
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cartoons
  • Disharmony
  • Economic RecessionPoverty
  • Mistrust
  • Pandemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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