Attempt to silence brave voices: Citizens voice against action against NewsClicktext_fields
New Delhi: A group of prominent citizens has condemned the recent actions taken against NewsClick, a digital news organization, labelling it a "chilling attempt to silence brave voices."
The outcry follows a Delhi Police raid on journalists associated with NewsClick, culminating in the sealing of its office. The police allege that the news outlet received funds to propagate Chinese propaganda.
Editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and human resources head Amit Chakraborty have been arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. NewsClick claims that the police seized electronic devices without providing a crucial "hash value" to ensure data integrity. Furthermore, the police have not furnished a copy of the first information report to the detained individuals.
A statement, endorsed by notable activists, authors, historian Ramachandra Guha, journalist P Sainath, and musician TM Krishna, accuses the government of attempting to vilify journalists who have consistently spoken truth to power. It emphasizes the importance of criticism in a democracy and denounces any effort to stifle dissent as an assault on India's democratic spirit.
The statement contends that seizing journalists' electronic devices without a court order is a violation of privacy and illegal. Citing past instances where evidence was allegedly planted on activists' confiscated devices, the group expresses concerns about similar attempts against NewsClick journalists.
Referring to reports by digital forensics firm Arsenal Consulting, which exposed evidence planting in the Bhima Koregaon case, the group urges stakeholders and concerned citizens to speak out against the harassment of NewsClick and its contributors. They express deep appreciation for NewsClick's journalism and stand in solidarity with its staff and contributors during this challenging period.