NEW DELHI – Indian police have raided the places of work of a information web site beneath investigation for allegedly receiving cash from China, in addition to the properties of a number of of its journalists, in what critics described as an assault on considered one of India’s few remaining impartial media retailers. .
The raids got here months after Indian authorities searched BBC places of work in New Delhi and Mumbai over tax evasion allegations in February.
NewsClick, based in 2009, is named one of many few media retailers in India keen to criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his authorities.
Indian authorities registered a case towards the web site and its journalists on August 17, weeks later New York Times report The positioning allegedly obtained cash from an American millionaire who, the Instances wrote, financed the unfold of “Chinese language propaganda.” NewsClick has denied these accusations.
The case was introduced beneath a broad anti-terrorism regulation that enables expenses of “anti-national actions” and has been used towards activists, journalists and Modi critics, a few of whom spent years in jail earlier than being delivered to trial. No arrests have been made in reference to NewsClick up to now.
Not less than two journalists confirmed that Delhi Police raided their properties and confiscated their units.
“Delhi Police descended on my home. He took my laptop computer and cellphone,” mentioned journalist Abhisar Sharma Written on Xthe platform previously generally known as Twitter.
Delhi Police didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark, however Minister of State for Info and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, advised reporters that “if anybody does something fallacious, search companies are free to conduct investigations towards them.”
In August, Thakur accused NewsClick of spreading an “anti-India agenda,” citing the New York Instances, and of working with the opposition Indian Nationwide Congress get together. Each NewsClick and the Congress Get together denied the accusations.
Beneath Modi, authorities companies have investigated a number of information organizations for monetary irregularities, elevating considerations about diminished press freedom in India. Reporters With out Borders, an advocacy group for journalists, ranked the nation 161 in its rating Press freedom classifications This 12 months, he wrote, the scenario within the nation had deteriorated from “problematic” to “very dangerous.”
The Press Membership of India mentioned it was “deeply involved concerning the a number of raids carried out on the properties of journalists and writers related to NewsClick”.
He added, “The Communist Get together stands in solidarity with the journalists and calls for that the federal government reveal the main points.” he wrote in a statement on X.
Relations between India and China have been tense since 2020, when clashes between the 2 armies in a disputed border space resulted within the deaths of at the very least 20 Indian troopers and 4 Chinese language troopers. Since then, New Delhi has banned a number of Chinese language-owned apps, together with TikTok, and launched tax investigations into some Chinese language cell phone firms.
The Modi administration has additionally launched guidelines requiring authorities approval for investments made by firms from China and different nations neighboring India.