"Investigation of specific offences must not create a general atmosphere of intimidation"

Journalistic bodies call raids on NewsClick office, employees and contributors an attempt to muzzle the press

Special Cell of Delhi Police seize books, documents and devices from  journalists' homes in 200-personnel raids (photo: DW)
Special Cell of Delhi Police seize books, documents and devices from journalists' homes in 200-personnel raids (photo: DW)
user

NH Digital

Several journalistic bodies strongly condemned the early morning raids, seizure of phones and laptops, and ongoing questioning of several individuals, including journalists and commentators linked to online portal NewsClick, and called it yet another attempt to muzzle the media.

The Press Club of India (PCI), the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), the National Alliance of Journalists (NAJ), the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), the Editors Guild of India (EGI) and DIGIPub issued statements regarding the Delhi Police action against NewsClick.

The EGI issued a statement, saying it was deeply concerned about the raids at the residences of senior journalists on Tuesday morning. These raids are yet another attempt to 'muzzle the media', it said. 'We remind the government of the importance of an independent media in a functioning democracy and urge it to ensure that the fourth pillar is respected, nurtured and protected,' the guild said.

'While we recognise that the law must take its course if actual offences are involved, the due process has to be followed. 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,' it added.

Statement by the executive committee of the Editors Guild of India
Statement by the executive committee of the Editors Guild of India
Editors Guild of India

The Indian Women’s Press Corps underscored that the manner in which sections of the media are being repeatedly targeted — because they have raised concerns about certain policies of the government that are not people-friendly — reflects very poorly on a government representing the world's largest democracy.

In a joint statement, the NAJ and the DUJ said the government has apparently been targeting NewsClick after its extensive coverage on the issues of workers and farmers. 'We believe that this is yet another attempt by the Centre to muzzle freedom of press,' it said.

'Such an action, raiding and intimidating almost all the employees in a media organisation, is unheard of. The NewsClick management has been maintaining that whatever funding they have received was through legal sources and evidence for this has been submitted in the High Court of Delhi,' it said.

'These new raids are to divert public attention from burning livelihood issues of people. Unfortunately, journalists are being targeted for furthering the political agenda of the ruling party... We urge the media fraternity to protest against this witch hunt by the government,' it said.


In a post on X, the Press Club of India (PCI) said it is deeply concerned about the raids. “We are monitoring the developments and will be releasing a detailed statement. The PCI stands in solidarity with the journalists and demands the government to come out with details,” it said.

A spontaneous protest meeting was held at the PCI in Delhi against the police action. The meeting resolved to continue the protest to defend media freedom.

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) said in a statement that journalists, activists and artists who speak truth to power are being 'unrelentingly harassed and persecuted' by the government, while 'pliant and sycophantic' mediapersons and media houses are being nurtured. “This campaign to quell dissent has to stop,” it said.

Expressing concerns over the police action on the journalists of the news portal, the DIGIPUB News India Foundation said: 'They have been detained, their phones and laptops seized. This is another instance of the government’s pattern of arbitrary and intimidatory behaviour. We are keeping an eye on the developments.'

The Mumbai Press Club also expressed 'deep concern'.

DIGIPUB statement on the raids on journalists and other mediapersons in Delhi and Mumbai
DIGIPUB statement on the raids on journalists and other mediapersons in Delhi and Mumbai
DIGIPUB

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines


;