New Delhi, Oct 3 (EFE). – Indian police on Tuesday raided the office of an online portal, NewsClick, and several of its journalists as part of a probe into suspected illegal Chinese funding of the media house.
The news portal was named in a New York Times investigation, claiming that the Chinese government was lavishly financing a global propaganda campaign.
“Delhi police landed at my home. Taking away my laptop and phone,” journalist Abhisar Sharma said on the social network X, formerly Twitter.
Journalist Bhasha Singh said she was writing her “last tweet from this phone” after Delhi police seized her cellphone device.
Security forces searched dozens of locations and at least seven homes of journalists in the Indian capital.
In a press statement, the Press Club of India expressed concern at the searches carried out at the homes of journalists and writers associated with NewsClick.
“The PCI stands in solidarity with the journalists and demands the government come out with details,” the journalist body wrote on X.
The raids are linked to several cases of alleged illegal overseas funding for the online outlet.
The police have filed the case under a stringent anti-terror law, which may land a suspect in police custody for about two years without a trial.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), an Indian security agency specializing in economic crimes, and the tax department carried out raids on the NewsClick offices in 2021.
Editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha then accused the authorities of confiscating the phones of dozens of journalists, calling the raids an attempt to stifle freedom of expression in India.
The new raids came after a New York Times report included NewsClick among the media houses that allegedly received funding to disseminate pro-China propaganda financed by American millionaire Neville Roy Singham.
Global rights and journalist bodies have often raised questions about India’s state of press freedom after Hindu-nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power almost 10 years ago.
India figures at the unenviable 161 spot on the 2023 global press freedom index, 11 down from last year’s place, according to a report by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders released in March. EFE