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Letter: Kata cartoon

Thursday 8 June 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letter: Kata cartoon

Dear Editor, I write to register my disgust and contempt on the Kata cartoon that you published in your newspaper on Tuesday 6th June.

They turned a welcome home for our Prime Minister by the Nikao Orometua, Karika Ariki and Vakatini Ariki of Rarotonga into a disgusting caricature in the CI News.

The vulgar messaging requesting removal of clothing to perform a sexual act on the leader of our country was just awful. Even more despicable is the imagery of having a woman (one of our most qualified Cook Islands women) on her knees, unmistakably in a subservient sexual posture just astounds me. The disguised misogyny and casual portrayal of the degradation of women in this single cartoon should be enough to shut your newspaper down.

Even after being warmly welcomed into our country, the disrespect demonstrated by the foreign owner and editor of Cook Islands News, suggests they can insult our country whenever they want with this type of disgusting rubbish.

I would like to know if any other Cook Islands organisations support this portrayal of our country.

Ben Ponia, Chief of Staff, Office of the Prime Minister.

I write this letter not in my capacity as the PM’s press secretary, but as a Cook Islands woman. Your Kata cartoon of Tuesday 6th June was deeply offensive and showed poor editorial standards. Nothing short of a meaningful apology to all parties concerned will bring any credibility back to your publication.

Jaewynn McKay, Tupapa.

Editor’s note: The Kata cartoon that was published in Tuesday, June 6 edition was intended to question the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration’s eleventh-hour decision to hold a special welcome ceremony for our travelling Prime Minister from his overseas trips.

We disagree with Mr Ponia’s interpretation of the Kata cartoon. The cartoonist, a Cook Islander, was exercising his right to ridicule the idea of a welcoming ceremony for a public figure merely doing his job and duty to represent the country abroad.

The Kata cartoon which represents the views of the cartoonist and not the newspaper per se, by its very nature is meant to be satirical and provocative. However Cook Islands News regrets any offence caused by the interpretation of the Kata cartoon other than what was originally intended.