Video Producer: Maushmee Singh
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Political cartoonist Manjul received a notice from Twitter on 4 June 2021. The notice intimated Manjul that Twitter had received a legal request from Indian law enforcement to initiate action against his social media account.
In an exclusive conversation with The Quint, he says he's angry and shocked at the same and explains how the current government is suppressing criticism and dissent.
‘Twitter’s Notice Was Shocking’
You have been a political cartoonist for several years. You have posted several illustrations criticising the Centre’s handling of the COVID outbreak, exposing the grim reality of the devastating second wave of the pandemic, and how several people did not have access to healthcare. How do you perceive the Twitter notice?
I was shocked to see the notice from Twitter. I have never received such notices in my entire life and career. It is obvious that no government likes its criticism, but this current government is suppressing any form of criticism and dissent. Such acts were a rare sight until now.
‘An Atmosphere of All is Well is Being Created’
More and more people are posting content, critical of the government on social media platforms. Do you think the government is specifically targeting social media platforms and the content posted there?
The public’s voice against the policies of the government mostly find space only on digital media these days. Due to restricted platforms, many are unaware of the new laws, or the policies concerning social media platforms. They don’t even know how laws and policies will affect them. An atmosphere of ‘all is well’ is being created.
‘Art is Safe Only When Society Wants To Keep It’
You think rather than suppressing art and criticism, the government should have handled the pandemic better?
There are many ways to oppose the policies of the government. Embedding satire in cartoons is one of them. The government should not interfere with the voices that criticise them for their handling of COVID through their art. Instead of suppressing our voices, they should have rather handled the pandemic better. Art is safe as long as the society wants to keep it safe. If a society chooses to close its eyes, art cannot survive.