Journalist Bodies Flay Ongoing Harassment of Newsclick Staff, Appeal for Support
New Delhi: Journalists organisations have expressed outrage at portal Newsclick’s continued harassment by government agencies. On Wednesday, a fifth probe agency, the CBI, again searched the premises of the portal’s office and its Editor-in Chief Prabir Purkayastha’s residence.
A fresh FIR was filed by CBI on October 11, after which another search was carried out, close on the heels of massive raids and seizure of electronic devices of close to 80 persons, including 50 scribes, on October 3, under the draconian anti-terror law, UAPA or Unlawful activities Prevention Act. The portal’s Editor-in Chief Prabir Purkayastha and Human Resources head Amit Chakravarty were arrested and devices of several veteran contributors and freelancers were seized, ending their work with a jolt.
On Wednesday, six media organisations – Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Association, Digipub, Delhi Union of Journalists and Working News Cameramen's Association, issued an appeal for spare laptops and phones for the affected journalists so that their livelihoods are not hit.
‘All procedure was flouted as seizure memos were not issued for every equipment seized. Employees have had to purchase new phones and organize laptops in order to continue functioning. As of now, their right to work and livelihood stands affected indefinitely. Many Newsclick employees are single earners with elderly family members to support.”
Recall that Newsclick has, since 2021, already been probed by the ED, EoW (Delhi Police), IT department, Delhi Police Special Cell, the last raid just a week ago. The portal said it had provided all documents devices to all the probe agencies, “yet the Government that has not been able to substantiate any charges against Newsclick despite being in possession of all its information, documentation and communications, needed a motivated and bogus article published in the New York Times to invoke the draconian UAPA and attempt to shut down and stifle independent and fearless voices that portray the story of the real India – of peasants, of labourers, of farmers, and other oft-ignored sections of society.”
Read the full statement below:
Journalist bodies condemn the continued harassment of Newsclick employees: issue appeal for support
October 11, 2023
We the undersigned journalist organizations and associations express our deep outrage at the sustained and relentless harassment of the employees of Newsclick. The office of Newsclick and the home of the founder-editor were raided by the CBI today.
During the raids on October 3 at the homes of Newsclick employees, laptops and phones were seized indiscriminately, including those of elderly and sickly family members of the employees. All procedure was flouted as seizure memos were not issued for every equipment seized. Employees have had to purchase new phones and organize laptops in order to continue functioning. As of now, their right to work and livelihood stands affected indefinitely. Many Newsclick employees are single earners with elderly family members to support.
As there is no assurance of the return of their equipment, we appeal to members of our fraternity and the public at large to help out in whichever form possible, e.g, spare laptops or phones in order that they are able to continue to work and sustain themselves.
Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Association, Digipub, Delhi Union of Journalists and Working News Camermen's Association
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