CONSTRUCTING POLITICAL OPINIONS: A SOCIO-SEMIOTIC ANALYSIS OF POLITICAL CARTOONS IN PAKISTANI PRINT MEDIA
Keywords:editorial cartoons , press media , social evils , political evils , comic
Cartoon art is an essential aspect of political and social sarcasm, particularly in print media, where it is strategically employed to construct and shape public opinion. Though cartoons represent an overstatement of a person or an event for producing a humorous effect, they highlight the harsh realities (i.e., social injustices, social evil, and corruption) of a society in an indirect and light manner. This article aims to explore the linguistic and semiotic aspects of cartoons in the editorial section of Pakistani English newspapers. More specifically, the study explores how Pakistani English newspapers’ editorials make a satirical use of cartoon art to highlight the political and social issues; what political and social issues have been projected through cartoons; how the linguistic and semiotic choices within a cartoon art project its drawer’s perception; and how these choices indirectly construct public opinion. The study followed qualitative methodology in exploring eight (08) cartoons collected through random sampling techniques from three Pakistani English newspapers—Dawn, The News, and The Nation. Kress and Leeuwen’s (2002) visual communication model was employed as a theoretical framework for analyzing the linguistic and semiotic features of cartoons. The results indicate that the drawers expertly display their artistic skills in visualizing a harsh political and social issue in an indirect manner— satire and humor. These cartoons shape the worldview of the readers; therefore, they are an important aspect of print media editorials. The study is significant in highlighting aspects of cartoon art for disseminating information and constructing public opinions.