On Friday, award-winning Reuters photo-journalist was murdered by the Taliban as he was covering the conflict in Afghanistan. After his death, a strange phenomenon was noticed on his Twitter account.
A Twitter user pointed out that the famed tweet of Danish, where he had shared pictures of the funeral pyres of Hindus, said that the tweet was “unavailable”.
When one clicks on any of the replies to the tweet, Twitter says that the tweet by Danish Siddiqui is unavailable.
Rajnish Sharma had accused Siddiqui of making fun of “our people’s death” and said that in the Court of God, everyone is held to account. After his tweet went viral following Siddiqui’s death, Sharma said that he was extremely anguished as he had to perform the funeral rites of his wife and father within the space of four days during the first wave.
However, it is not just the funeral pyre tweet that seems to be unavailable. When one clicks on any of the tweet threads by Danish Siddiqui, the preceding tweets appear to be ‘unavailable’.
When one clicks on the “Learn More” tag of the restricted tweet, the person is taken to the ‘Help‘ section of Twitter where explanations are provided for various labels. However, in this particular instance, it does not explain why the tweet was restricted.
On the face of it, it does appear that Twitter has censored the tweet in question. However, the explanation provided in its ‘help’ section does not adequately explain the ‘unavailable’ tag on the tweet. It could be an unintentional error that could be rectified before long. Especially, because all of his tweets seem to be ‘unavailable’ in a similar fashion.
It is entirely possible that his tweets being unavailable could just be a Twitter bug, or, Twitter is censoring the tweets because he was killed in a conflict zone. However, there seems to be no precedent for that to be done with a journalist’s account.
Danish Siddiqui was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan during clashes with Afghan forces. He was on a reporting assignment to the war ravaged country, embedded with the Afghan security forces. He was killed in Spin Boldak district, Kandahar.
Siddiqui was at the centre of the controversy during the peak of the second wave of Covid-19 in India when insensitive photographs of funeral pyres were splashed across the media. The photographs were widely criticized for being insensitive. However, he had also received international praise for the photographs.