Award-winning Indian cartoonist Kanika Mishra had a cartoon targeting violence against women censored by Facebook the same week the world was celebrating International Women’s Day. The cartoon in question had been posted on the cartoonist’s Facebook page previously without incident, but when Ms. Mishra re-posted it — following an Indian government minister’s statement that ‘the concept of marital rape doesn’t exist in the Indian context’ — the cartoon was removed almost immediately.
Kanika Mishra, India’s most prominent female political cartoonist, has not been censored by Facebook before. But since posting cartoons in defense of protesting students at Jawaharlal Nehru University, she has seen an upsurge in online abuse from Indian ultranationalists.
“Social media is the only medium from where I distribute my cartoons and my cartoons enjoy a huge following,” Mishra says. “But in the last few months, after I made cartoons on JNU students’ row, I find that lots of so-called nationalists and patriots are reporting my cartoons on Facebook. They were also abusing me on my wall but it doesn’t seem enough, now they are after my social media accounts and want to close these down.”
“I sent them [Facebook] my feedback that I am disappointed. Facebook seldom removes abusive comments or blocks such people — but why are they so quick to remove my popular cartoon which only shows the sad reality and is based on 100% truth.”
The only reason Facebook administrators offered for censoring Mishra was ‘community standards.’
Kanika Mishra replies: “Yes, ‘community standards.’ Facebook seriously needs to raise their standards.”