Twitter India Censors Tweets By Cartoonist Manjul, Also Restores It Later!

A look at the tweets shared by Manjul that were blocked Twitter India initially and why they were restored later.

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Freedom of speech and expression in our country is always under close monitoring. Being an amateur cartoonist myself (never got published anywhere), I have been a fan of cartoonist Manjul. Manjul, apart from being the Chief Cartoonist at Daily News & Analysis (DNA), is also quite active on Twitter. Due to his cartoons that majorly talk about the daily happenings in the political world, the cartoonist is relatively popular with more than 6K followers on Twitter.

But then humor is relative. A hearty laugh for someone might not be appreciated by another. Today the same happened with Manjul when three of his cartoons were blocked by Twitter India. This can be seen in the below tweet by Manjul where he tags Twitter and Twitter India. The tweet has been retweeted by more than 34 people while I write this article.

This obviously has led to various speculations on Twitter and the two tweets that were initially blocked are shared below.

Interestingly, both the tweets were missing from the network as stated in this tweet from Manjul:

Later the tweet that is about the Lokpal draft depicting a fight between Kapil Sibal and Anna Hazare trying to grab the pen, was restored but the other tweet which has Rahul Gandhi in it, had been censored twice. However, it is also finally back.

But why did Twitter block Manjul’s Tweet?

According to Twitter guidelines, one can report about individual tweets when it is a spam, harassment, impersonation, copyright, or trademark violations. Further in its Twitter Rules support doc, Twitter elaborates all the above mentioned reasons why a tweet could be blocked.

As per the doc both the tweets that Manjul has shared hardly fall into any of the content boundaries mentioned by Twitter. There is no violence, abusive language or copyright issues with the tweets. What is surprising here is that one of the tweets is a year older which Manjul had reposted yesterday. Even though the tweet that had Kapil Sibal was restored, the visual tweet that has Rahul Gandhi took a good time before it was made public.

As usual there has been no response from Twitter or Twitter India on this unusual behavior. Wonder who has reported about the tweets? And if it was not appropriate then why has it been made available again?

Freedom of speech and expression

Both the subjects have been in question for some time now. In 2012, Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who had started a campaign against corruption through his website ‘www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com’ was arrested by the Mumbai Police’s cyber wing on charges of sedition and insulting the national emblems in his cartoons. In the same year around April, Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal got Prof. Ambikesh Mahapatra, a Kolkata professor arrested for forwarding a cartoon spoof on her.

Then in 2013 there have been a series of misuse of the Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2008.

Manjul’s case is not that worse however, but an explanation from Twitter India is the least one can expect as on what grounds the content was repeatedly removed and then restored. Was it a technical glitch or external pressure?

P.S. We have got in touch with Manjul for any new developments but we have not approached Twitter India as they haven’t addressed any of our queries ever.

Image credit: Mashable