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'Attempt to muzzle free media': Journalist bodies slam raids on NewsClick office, scribes

Journalists gathered at the Press Club of India for an impromptu meeting to decide on the next course of action. The meeting decided to hold a protest at the Press Club premises on Wednesday at 4 pm.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 03 October 2023, 10:37 IST
Last Updated : 03 October 2023, 10:37 IST

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Journalist bodies on Tuesday strongly condemned the raids at journalists linked to online portal NewsClick, calling it another attempt to “muzzle” free media by the government that is “harassing and persecuting” journalists who speak truth while “pliant and sycophantic” media persons are being “nurtured”.

Press Club of India, National Alliance of Journalists (NAJ), Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), Editors Guild of India and DIGIPub issued statements protesting against the Delhi Police action against NewsClick on the pretext of investigating its funding.

In a joint statement, the NAJ and DUJ said the government has been targeting NewsClick apparently after the coverage it gave 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.

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) said 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.

Editors Guild also called the raids as yet another attempt to muzzle the media. "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 said.

Press Club of India was "deeply concerned" about multiple raids and said it stands in solidarity with the journalists and demands the government to come out with details," it said.

Journalists gathered at the Press Club of India for an impromptu meeting to decide on the next course of action. The meeting decided to hold a protest at the Press Club premises on Wednesday at 4 pm.

Mumbai Press Club expressed "deep concern" regarding the searches and urged for an "unbiased investigation". It asked Delhi Police to desist from what is perceived as a "targeted harassment campaign against these journalists".

DIGIPUB News India Foundation, a grouping on digital media organisations, said the searches were “another instance of the government’s pattern of arbitrary and intimidatory behaviour”.

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Published 03 October 2023, 10:37 IST

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