Network 18 drops cartoonist Manjul shortly after Twitter informs him of govt complaint against his handle
Popular cartoonist Manjul drew the govt’s ire for drawing stinging cartoons holding PM Narendra Modi personally responsible for the disastrous second wave of COVID, sources claimed
Popular cartoonist Manjul has been dropped by Firstpost shortly after he received an email from Twitter informing him action had been sought against his handle by ‘Indian law enforcement’ for ‘violating the law’.
A former staffer of Firstpost, a website which is part of Network 18 media conglomerate owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, who worked with Manjul at the desk, told NH that his services have been terminated by the management. The ex-staffer recently joined the digital wing of TV9, TV9 Bharatvarsh.
According to a journalist working with the Network 18 group, Manjul was given a contract six years ago on a handsome salary. “He was on good terms with the management until the second COVID wave hit the country and Manjul began drawing stinging cartoons, holding PM Narendra Modi personally responsible for the disaster,” he said.
There are some, however, who claim that his services have been terminated as the Firstpost management has been planning to cut down the input cost for quite some time.
Launched in 2012, Firstpost gained fame for quick, hard hitting opinion pieces but failed to make profit. Hindi Firstpost was launched a few years later but was closed down due to losses.
A senior journalist working with News18.com told NH that the action was expected. “Otherwise also he (Manjul) was very biased,” he said.
Manjul, whose cartoons depict the harsh reality, seem to have rattled the Modi government to such an extent that it wrote to Twitter seeking action against him.
Manjul has claimed that the government sent an email to Twitter stating that his handle @MANJULtoons “violates the law(s) of India''. Twitter said it had been asked by “Indian law enforcement” to initiate action against Manjul’s account.
Manjul shared the screen shot of the email on his Twitter handle with the caption “Jai ho Modi Ji ki sarkar ki!” (All hail the Modi government).
Founder editor of AltNews Prateek Sinha has posted on his Twitter handle that it is the Government of India which asked Twitter to suspend Manjul’s account.
In a similar development, lawyer activist Prashant Bhushan on Friday claimed that the Modi government has sent a request to Twitter to take down a retweet of a cartoon drawn by another popular cartoonist, Satish Acharya, as it “violates the laws of India”.
Manjul as well as Satish Acharya are known for their hard hitting political cartoons mocking Modi government for its failure.
“Such actions are bound to happen…Their cartoons have offended the government to the core,” said a friend of Manjul who did not wish to be named.