NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 3: The National Alliance of Journalists, the Delhi Union of Journalists and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (Delhi Unit) issued a joint statement on Tuesday condemning the Delhi Police raid on NewsClick, its scribes, as well as contributors associated with the news portal.
It said that the residences of journalists like Prabir Purkayastha (Prabir Purkayastha (founder and Editor-in-Chief of NewsClick), Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Aunindyo Chakraborty, Bhasha Singh, Urmilesh, Abhisar Sharma, Mahesh Kumar, Subodh Varma, Aditi Nigam and Mukund Jha were raided this morning.
The statement claimed that several of the media persons were also taken into custody.
Media reports stated that past employees were targeted as well. The residences of activist Teesta Setalvad and Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, too, were raided.
Writer Githa Hariharan, activist and historian Sohail Hashmi and satirist and stand-up comic Sanjay Rajaura, too, were ‘raided’ today.
“The Government has been targeting Newsclick apparently after the coverage this news portal gave to the issues of workers and farmers”, the statement alleged.
“We believe that this is yet another attempt by the Centre to muzzle the freedom of press. Such an action, raiding and intimidating almost all the employees in a media organisation is unheard of”, it said.
The statement by the journalist bodies also noted that the Newsclick management has been maintaining that whatever funding they have received was through legal sources and that the evidence for this has been submitted to the Delhi High Court.
“These new raids are to divert public attention from burning livelihood issues of people. We condemn this with the strongest possible words. We will stand with these journalists in this matter. We urge the Centre to immediately stop this attack on press freedom. We urge the media fraternity to protest against this witch-hunt by the Government”, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Press Club of India has demanded the Centre to come out with details of the investigation. “The Press Club of India is deeply concerned about the multiple raids conducted on the houses of journalists and writers associated with #Newsclick. We are monitoring the developments and will be releasing a detailed statement”, the journalists’body wrote on X.
The Network of Women in Media, India Journalists, termed the police action “shocking” and said on X that “activists and artists who speak truth to power are being unrelentingly harassed and persecuted by the Government, while pliant and sycophantic media persons and media houses are being nurtured. This campaign to quell dissent has to stop.”
The Editors Guild of India recorded its concerns over the raids and asserted that “the investigation of specific offences must not create a general atmosphere of intimidation under the shadow of draconian laws, or impinge on the freedom of expression and the raising of dissenting and critical voices.”
Its statement also reminded the Government about “the importance of an independent media in a functioning democracy”.
DIGIPUB News India Foundation tweeted that they were deeply concerned about the raids and said that it was “another instance of the Government’s pattern of arbitrary & intimidatory behavior”.
Raids at 30 locations across NCR
Sources informed TNIE that searches are being made by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell at more than 30 locations across the NCR, including the office of NewsClick, while its journalists are being questioned and their mobile phones and laptops have been seized by the cops.
Police have recovered dumped data from the seized laptops and phones. (Courtesy: TNIE)