India: authorities arrest and detain journalists following raids 

  • 06 Oct 2023

News outlet NewsClick and the homes of its journalists have been raided in targeted action by authorities.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has joined the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in condemning the arrests of staff at independent news outlet NewsClick. On 3 October, officers raided the outlet, confiscating equipment and questioning journalists. At least 30 homes of former and current staff were also targeted in raids in New Delhi and Mumbai. 

NewsClick’s founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha was among 46 people questioned with their electronic devices seized. Police failed to declare what data had been accessed, leading to fears over the safety of sources and confidential journalistic material. 

A First Information Report has been filed against Purkayastha and Amit Chakraborty, NewsClick’s head of  human resources. Both were arrested on criminal conspiracy charges, accused of illegally accepting foreign funds for "anti-national" coverage and activities, and detained in police custody for a week. 

NewsClick has previously been targeted by authorities with a raid in 2021 as part of an alleged investigation into tax evasion. The most recent raids relate to a case filed days after the New York Times reported NewsClick had allegedly received funding from a network promoting Chinese propaganda.

In February 2023, tax authorities raided the BBC’s offices in New Delhi and Mumbai after the broadcaster aired a documentary critical of Modi’s alleged inaction during the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

The Indian Journalists Union, IFJ and NUJ call for the immediate release of all detained journalists. 

The IFJ said:

“IFJ condemns the raids and arrests of the media workers and urges the Indian authorities to cease the harassment of NewsClick, and the outlet’s journalists, release those arrested, and calls on the authorities to ensure the freedom of speech and expression of journalists in India is upheld and protected.”

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