NewsClick row: Founder Prabir Purkayastha arrives at Delhi Police Special Cell Office
Delhi police register case against NewsClick under UAPA for alleged Chinese funding; search journalists' homes.
Delhi Police on Tuesday registered a case against digital media platform NewsClick under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) amid allegations that the news portal had received funding from China.
Police recovered the dump data of laptops and mobile phones of some journalists of NewsClick. The Special Cell has registered a new case and started investigation, officials said. The Special Cell is conducting raids on the basis of inputs provided by the central agency.
Abhisar Sharma, a senior journalist, wrote on X, "Delhi police landed at my home. Taking away my laptop and phone."
Meanwile, The Press Club of India has expressed concerns regarding the incessant raids conducted at the houses of NewsClick journalists. "We are monitoring the developments and will be releasing a detailed statement," Press Club of India wrote on the X platform.
On Delhi Police conducting raids at different premises linked to NewsClick, Congress MP Pramod Tiwari said, "I feel that dictatorship has come... This is a message from the BJP to all the journalists. We are in support of free journalism. We strongly condemn these raids".
About NewsClick controversy:
In August this year, US daily The New York Times alleged that Indian news portal NewsClick is among organisations funded by a network tied to US millionaire Neville Roy Singham for pushing Chinese propaganda.
Enforcement Directorate, India's anti-money laundering agency, earlier also conducted raids at the firm's premises probing its sources of funding.
The agency, in February 2021, raided the premises of NewsClick and the residences of its editors in connection with a case of alleged money laundering and conducted search and seizure operations. Its case related to alleged foreign funding is based on an FIR registered by Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing.
At that time, ED's probe showed that foreign remittances, allegedly totalling over ₹77 crore, had been received by NewsClick between 2018 and 2021.
The remittances, ED claimed, came in the form of subscriptions to shares of PPK Newsclick Studio, which owns the news portal, and for providing certain services. According to ED, the remittances came from companies such as Worldwide Media Holdings LLC, Delaware; Justice & Education Fund Inc; Tricontinental Ltd Inc, USA; GSPAN LLC, USA; and Centro Popular De Midas, Brazil.
The ED claimed that these companies were linked to Singham.
ED claimed that it found an email from Singham to NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and Tricontinental executive director Vijay Prashad among others on January 26, 2020, where subtitling of a Chinese propaganda film is being talked about.
NYT this year mentioned NewsClick in one of its reports and wrote, "The authorities in India raided a news organization tied to Mr Singham during a crackdown on the press, accusing it of having ties to the Chinese government but offering no proof… In New Delhi, corporate filings show, Mr. Singham’s network financed a news site, NewsClick, that sprinkled its coverage with Chinese government talking points". The report added that Singham “works closely with the Chinese government media machine and is financing its propaganda".
But Singham categorically denied the allegations. " I am a member of, work for, take orders from, or follow instructions of any political party or government or their representatives. I am solely guided by my beliefs, which are my long-held personal views," he told NYT.
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