Indian Police Raids News Site Suspected to be a Chinese Propaganda Outlet

Indian Police Raids News Site Suspected to be a Chinese Propaganda

Indian Police Raids News Site Suspected to be a Chinese Propaganda Outlet

New Delhi 2023 - Police in New Delhi have conducted raids at the homes of more than 40 journalists, contributors, and support staff of NewsClick, a news website alleged by Indian officials to be a conduit for Chinese propaganda. The operation took place on Tuesday morning and involved the confiscation of phones and laptops belonging to the journalists and contributors.

Prominent NewsClick journalists such as Bhasha Singh and Abhisar Sharma reported that Delhi police seized their devices in an operation amid escalating tensions between India and China following a conflict on the shared Himalayan border.

An anonymous Indian official revealed that the site was accused of receiving payments to spread Chinese propaganda. The investigation aims to secure electronic evidence and get to the root of the matter, including accessing electronic records stored on the seized devices.

A police spokesperson stated that the raids were related to a terrorism prevention case, with 46 suspects interrogated and digital devices and documents seized for examination. Two of the accused, Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty, have been arrested.

While media advocacy groups and the Press Club of India expressed deep concern over the raids, India's opposition accused the BJP government of targeting "media organizations and journalists that speak truth to power."

The Indian government perceives the raids as an effort to safeguard the country's sovereignty rather than an issue of freedom of speech. Since the deadly clashes in northern Ladakh in 2020, the Modi administration has taken a tough stance against Chinese companies and apps, including banning dozens of Chinese-owned apps like TikTok and initiating tax probes into Chinese mobile phone companies.

In 2021, India's enforcement directorate also raided the offices and homes of several officials and journalists associated with NewsClick as part of an investigation into its funding.

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Attempts by FT to contact NewsClick were unsuccessful. On its still operational website, NewsClick describes itself as "an independent media organization dedicated to covering news from India and elsewhere with a focus on progressive movements."

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