Journalists Raided, Anti-Terror Case Against NewsClick Amid China Funding Row

Journalists Raided, Anti-Terror Case Against NewsClick Amid China Funding Row
Journalists Raided, Anti-Terror Case Against NewsClick Amid China Funding Row

In connection with an investigation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), several journalists associated with NewsClick’s homes were searched today. An inquiry by the New York Times alleged at the time that the news portal had received funding from a network spreading Chinese propaganda, prompting Delhi Police to register a case under the anti-terror law on August 17.

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Around two dozen locations in Delhi-NCR were searched today by officers from the Special Cell of the Delhi Police. There have been no arrests so far, but some journalists were taken to police stations to be questioned.

Asked about the searches, Minister Anurag Thakur responded in Bhubaneswar, “I don’t need to justify… If anyone has committed any wrongdoing, search agencies can investigate them under established guidelines.”

Concerns have been expressed over the raids by the Press Club of India. A detailed statement will be released by the Press Club Of India regarding the multiple raids carried out on the houses of journalists and writers associated with Newsclick.

In a statement, the PCI said it stands in solidarity with the journalists and demands that the government provide details. #DefendMediaFreedom.

There had previously been an investigation into the funding of the portal by the Enforcement Directorate. Additionally, some assets related to the news portal had been attached by the central agency.

According to sources, the case involves foreign funding and its use. Enforcement Directorate information is the basis of the fresh FIR.

There are questions surrounding how nearly $8 crore from entities linked to China was spent by the news portal, as the ED has previously alleged.

NewsClick is investigating people who received salaries or remuneration from the company. Journalists’ laptops and phones were seized for further investigation after their homes were searched today.

There will be more information shared later about the searches, according to police sources.

According to a New York Times investigation, NewsClick is one of several organizations funded by a Chinese propaganda network linked to US millionaire Neville Roy Singham.

Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing filed a case against the news portal in 2021, investigating its funding sources. It was based on this case that the Enforcement Directorate filed its case. NewsClick promoters are now protected from arrest by the Delhi High Court.

An alleged tax evasion case led Income Tax officers to search the news portal’s offices in 2021.

Prabir Purkayastha, NewsClick’s editor, had then criticised the crackdown on the news portal. A number of agencies are investigating media organisations – including NewsClick – and making selective allegations in an effort to stifle their independent journalism. A central right to our work is freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution.

According to Mr Purkayastha, the New York Times report was first published in August. In light of the fact that the matter is sub judice, we will respond to these allegations in the appropriate forum, namely the court.

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