The arrest of political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on sedition charges in Mumbai has stirred a debate on freedom of speech again with the issue being discussed threadbare in television discussions and on other media platforms.
Slamming the arrest of the cartoonist, Press Council of India chairperson Markandey Katju said, “Wrongful arrest and confinement are serious criminal offences... If you are arresting a person who has not committed an offence, you are committing a crime. So, these politicians and police officers should be arrested and made to face trial.”
Defending the arrest, the government went on the offensive with information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni telling reporters that the government had “no problems” with cartoons, but “they should stay within constitutional parameters”.
“They cannot make national symbols the objects of their cartoons,” the minister added.
Last week, the government had taken strong exception to an article in the influential US daily Washington Post for depicting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a ‘tragic figure’.
Also, the union government had last month blocked access to a number of Twitter accounts, including several spoof accounts imitating the prime minister.