Outcry over Delhi Police raids on critics: Journalist associations express deep concerntext_fields
New Delhi: Several journalist associations and news organizations have expressed deep concern over the raids conducted by the Delhi police on premises owned by journalists and activists critical of the Central government.
The action was part of an investigation into the funding of Newsclick, with the case filed in August under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Those reportedly raided include Newsclick’s editor, Prabir Purkayastha, journalists Abhisar Sharma, Aunindyo Chakravarty, and Bhasha Singh, as well as satirist Sanjay Rajaura. In Mumbai, similar actions were taken against activist Teesta Setalvad, director of think tank Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, which has collaborated with Newsclick.
The Press Club of India stated, “We are deeply concerned about the raids and urge the government to come out with details about the case.”
Digipub News India Foundation, a digital-only news association, criticized the government’s actions as arbitrary and intimidatory, emphasizing the need for vigilance on the developments.
The Mumbai Press Club urged for an unbiased investigation, stating, “The Delhi Police should desist from what is perceived as a targeted harassment campaign against these journalists.”
The Foundation for Media Professionals called the raids a matter of “grave concern” and demanded greater disclosure from authorities.
Expressing concern over the seizure of journalists' phones and laptops without legal safeguards, the Foundation for Media Professionals pointed to a plea filed before the Supreme Court in 2022, seeking guidelines on the search and seizure of journalists’ devices.
The controversy surrounding Newsclick escalated in August when The New York Times published a report alleging that the news website had received funds from a network centred around American millionaire Neville Roy Singham to spread “Chinese propaganda” globally.
Purkayastha, however, refuted the allegations, describing them as false and asserting that Newsclick did not function as a mouthpiece for the Communist Party of China.