Delhi Police have accused Prabir Purkayastha, the founder of NewsClick, of conspiring to promote the idea that Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are disputed territories.
Purkayastha has been arrested under anti-terror laws for allegedly receiving funds through his portal NewsClick to spread pro-China propaganda in India.
Along with him, Amit Chakravarty, the human resources head of the portal, was also arrested by the Delhi Police special cell. Both individuals have been placed in police custody for seven days.
Several media associations have written a letter to Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud expressing their concerns about recent police raids on journalists' homes and the seizure of their devices.
In the letter, they have requested the intervention of the top court to stop what they perceive as a 'repressive' use of investigating agencies against the media.
The letter stated, "Our fear is that state actions against the media have been taken beyond measure, and should they be allowed to continue in the direction they are headed, it may be too late for corrective or remedial steps. It is, therefore, our collective view that the higher judiciary must now intervene to put an end to the increasingly repressive use of investigating agencies against the media."
The letter also highlighted the chilling effect of invoking the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act).
It stated that journalism should not be treated as 'terrorism' and warns about the dangerous consequences that have historically followed such actions.
Various media organisations also joined together to protest against the Delhi Police's crackdown on NewsClick and the subsequent arrest of its founder, Purkayastha.
In the capital, a peaceful demonstration was held in front of the Press Club of India (PCI). Journalists participating in the protest expressed gratitude for the support they received from different media organisations and press clubs across the country.
NewsClick has issued a statement regarding the recent police raids at its premises. According to the statement, the organisation was not given a copy of the FIR or informed about the charges against its associates.
In addition to the raids, NewsClick's office has been sealed, which the organisation views as a deliberate attempt to hinder their reporting.
The statement also strongly condemned the actions of a government that disregards journalistic independence and labels criticism as sedition or "anti-national" propaganda.
The Delhi Police conducted investigations on Tuesday, questioning more than 40 suspects for several hours in relation to the foreign funding of a news portal.
Search operations were carried out at around 30 locations connected to NewsClick and its journalists.
Following the raids conducted under the UAPA and other sections, Purkayastha and Chakravarty were arrested after being questioned in their office.
The reason behind the raids was a New York Times report that implicated NewsClick as a part of a global network that received financial support from American billionaire Neville Roy Singham. The funds were allegedly intended for the dissemination of Chinese propaganda.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!