New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday morning started conducting a raid at NewsClick office in Delhi’s Saidulajab which has now been ongoing for over 28 hours.
In a statement given yesterday, an ED official had said that the searches at the portal’s office and residences of some of the directors of the company running the portal were conducted after “they received some funds from abroad and the same was being investigated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).”
Raids were also conducted at the residence of the website’s Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha.
“Truth shall prevail. We have full faith in the legal system,” said a brief statement by Newsclick, adding that the raids are still underway and a full statement will be released only after the process is over.
Speaking briefly on the issue yesterday, Pranjal, who is the editor of the website, accompanied by two ED officials, said: “There has been an ongoing raid since morning. We were shown a notice. Right now our documents are being checked. We are co-operating and will continue to co-operate,” NewsClick reported on its website.
Launched in 2009, NewsClick is an independent media organistation founded by Prabir Purkayastha and the website has of late, gained considerable viewership following extensive coverage of the ongoing farmer protests in the country.
Following the news of raid, several journalists and organisations took to twitter and issued statements in solidarity, condemning the raid on the independent media house.
The founding editor of The Wire, took to twitter and wrote, “Sedition cases, UAPA, FIRs for 153, 505, etc, frivolous defamation suits and now ED raids, this is how the government handles India’s independent media.”
Sedition cases, UAPA, FIRs for 153, 505, etc, frivolous defamation suits and now ED raids, this is how the government handles India’s independent media. @newsclickin is the latest target… https://t.co/RSsMLOqTfK via @thewire_in
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) February 9, 2021
“NewsClick has been providing a platform to leading investigative journalists like Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and bold video journalist Abhisar Sharma, P.Sainath -among others. It has also been reporting extensively on the farmers’ agitation for the past two months. It has established itself as a different voice with news and analysis of national and international affairs” a statement by Delhi Union of Journalists read.
The Editors Guild of India (EGI) , in a statement issued on Wednesday, said it was “deeply concerned” about the raids by the ED at the office of the independent news website, the residences of its editor-in-chief and promoter, the editor, as well as some of its senior management officials.
“In the recent past the website has been at the frontline of reporting on the farmers agitation, the antiCAA protests, and has been critical of various government policies and of a few powerful corporates house”, it noted adding that it was concerned that “raids by government agencies are now used as coercive measures to suppress free and independent journalism.”
Historian S Irfan Habib took to twitter and wrote: “ Sad but not surprised that a platform like #Newsclick is under attack. It created space for many senior journalists who found working in TV channels impossible. It’s founder Probir Purkayashta fought emergency as well so he knows the ways to fight.”
Sad but not surprised that a platform like #Newsclick is under attack. It created space for many senior journalists who found working in TV channels impossible. It’s founder Probir Purkayastha fought emergency as well so he knows the ways to fight.
— S lrfan Habib (@irfhabib) February 9, 2021
The Press Club of India (PCI), in a statement issued on Wednesday termed the ED raids as “an unsavoury attack on the media in a bid to intimidate and silence critical journalism.”
“This particular news group has closely covered the ongoing farmers protest, and specialises in reports on government policies on the poorer sections of society. Publicising the charge of alleged money laundering against a small, public-spirited, news company is no way to defend democratic values and institutions, which the government proclaims to be doing, especially on the world stage,” said the statement signed by senior journalists Anand K Sahay (President) and Anant Bagaitkar (Secretary).
The CPJ too took to twitter urging the Indian authorities to respect press freedom.
We are concerned by news reports that the Indian government’s Enforcement Directorate raided the office of @newsclickin today. We urge authorities to respect press freedom.https://t.co/EI5s87dpoo#PressFreedom #India
— CPJ Asia (@CPJAsia) February 9, 2021