Twitter, which has a history of arbitrarily suspending accounts of many users who do not fall into line with its leftist ideologies, has sent a notice to political cartoonist and satirist Vikaso, username @vikasopikaso, for his cartoon on the ‘best CM’, which according to the request to Twitter ‘violates the law(s) of India’.
The cartoonist took to Twitter to share the copy of the notice he received from the legal department of Twitter today. He captioned hi Tweet: “Finally, received my first notice for a cartoon on the best CM ;)”.
Finally, received my first notice for a cartoon on the best CM 😉 pic.twitter.com/ojfQiQxOzq— Vikaso (@vikasopikaso) May 10, 2021
In an e-mail dated May 10, the legal department of Twitter has informed the cartoonist that they have received a “request from India regarding the Twitter account @vikasopikaso, that claims the following content violates the law(s) of India.”
The caricature in question was that which the cartoonist posted on April 3. The satirist, through his sketch, took a jibe at Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. The political cartoon featured a ‘confused’ CM in an orange kurta, depicting Uddhav Thackeray. Two briefcases with ‘Lockdown’ written on one and ‘Vasooli’ written on the other lies in front of the CM, who looks flustered, as if having difficulty in choosing one of the two.
The microblogging site informed the Twitter user that they have not yet taken any action on the reported content. The mail read that it was Twitter’s policy to notify users if they receive any legal request from an authorised entity (such as law enforcement or a govt agency) to remove content from the account.
Saying so, Twitter said that meanwhile, the user has the option to explore his legal options. It read that the cartoonist was informed so that he might seek legal counsel and challenge the request in court or may voluntarily delete the content or may find some other resolution as deemed fit.
Twitter, while it did not remove the content in question, has a history of silecing non-Left accounts. In February 2020, the account of Twitter user ‘“टीपूडा” whose username is @PR1CELES5 was suspended by the micro-blogging site. The Twitter user, whose real name is Amol, had simply paid the price for exposing the bias of cartoonists through ‘corrected’ cartoons.
Prior to this, a Twitter user who mad hilarious spoofs of Rahul Gandhi also had his account permanently suspended by Twitter which made people wonder if it was due to his political ideology.
The Uddhav Thackeray government has also in the past display extreme intolerance towards its detractors. Last year, six Shiv Sena goons had assaulted a retired Navy officer for sharing Uddhav Thackeray cartoon. The WhatsApp forward was allegedly a satirical cartoon featuring Uddhav Thackeray and his allies Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi.