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VOA Contributing Cartoonist Recognized

Selected for Hellman-Hammett grant recognizing targets of political persecution

Washington, D.C., April 30, 2010 - Harn Lay, the popular Burmese cartoonist whose animations and stinging political cartoons frequently appear on the Voice of America, has been recognized by Human Rights Watch as "the best cartoonist working on Burma today."

The 44-year-old Harn Lay was selected for the Hellman-Hammett Grant, which is awarded to writers and artists around the world who have been targets of political persecution.

Harn Lay is a graduate of the Rangoon School of Fine Arts Academy. He fled to Thailand following the pro-democracy uprising in Burma in 1988. He has specialized in satirizing the situation inside Burma under military rule. His weekly cartoons and animations are featured in the VOA Burmese Service TV Magazine. His work also appears in a number of online publications.

Harn Lay told VOA that he was honored to receive the award.

The Human Rights Watch, Hellman-Hammett Grants are financed by the estate of the late playwright Lillian Hellman in funds set up in her name and that of her long-time companion, the novelist Dashiell Hammett.

Harn Lay's cartoons can be seen on the VOA's weekly Burmese TV Magazine show broadcast on satellite to Burma, and on the VOA Burmese website,

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail