NAPM condemns the vindictive targeting of progressive media houses, including NewsClick

news click logo

 16th Aug, 2023: National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) condemns the latest round of vicious allegations against NewsClick, an independent media organisation, whose primary focus since it was founded in 2009, has been to cover news on public interest and diverse, progressive, working-class movements within India and beyond. This comes as part of the larger attack of the current pro-corporate establishment against all independent media houses, challenging its gross failures and exposing its heinous crimes; while it lends a free hand to hate, fake news and propagandist media, infamously known as ’godi media’! NAPM holds that these attacks by the powers-that-be, especially BJP Govt. are a direct infringement of the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression of media houses which are responsible, democratic and law-abiding.

The current action of targeting the NewsClick include the attachment of a flat linked to its Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Prabir Purkayastha on 9th August, by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, alleging it was part of the ‘fraudulent foreign funds’ infusion that ED was probing. The ED had earlier attached Purkayastha’s fixed deposits. The twitter handle of NewsClick was also suspended for a while.

Even as Courts are looking into the matter, not only has media trial of NewsClick begun, but even MPs of the BJP stated in Parliament that NewsClick has been pushing ‘China’s agenda’! They also accused the Congress party of defending NewsClick, when the ED began its investigation in 2021 into its funding. Mr. Nishikant Dubey (BJP MP), who was among the most vociferous in his targeting, had several words from his speech deleted after the Congress strongly objected to the “defamatory charges”, and sought its removal. Another so-called letter by 255 ‘eminent citizens’ (including some former judges, bureaucrats, army officers) to the President of India and the Chief Justice, summarily painting NewsClick as an ‘anti-national, anti-democratic’ portal is grossly disturbing and indicates how the regime deploys all forces to discredit truth-seekers.

These attacks came after the New York Times, in a report on billionaire Neville Roy Singham based in Shanghai, wrote on how he was ‘at the heart of an intrinsically linked network of activists’ groups, non-profit organisations and shell companies’.  The report claimed corporate filings show, Singham’s network financed “a news site, NewsClick’, that sprinkled its coverage with Chinese government talking points”!

Numerous media organizations in India reacted immediately, saying suggestions that NewsClick serves as a ‘mouthpiece for a neighbouring country’ are “unwarranted and condemnable”. The Press Club of India, the Indian Women’s Press Corps, the Delhi Union of Journalists and Press Association, in their statement against what it termed as a “witch-hunt” against NewsClick, said that media outlets which critically examine government actions are not “unpatriotic or a tool of any foreign nation.”

In a strong show of support, the statement pointed out the portal features contributions from individuals of integrity and substance. “Articles that offer critical yet appreciative perspectives on the policies of other countries should not be mistaken for advocacy on their behalf.”  The media organizations have also called for transparency in action whereby sponsors and funding sources of all portals are disclosed, including those that support the government.

NewsClick, responding to the charges, via its recently restored Twitter handle stated that the allegations made by certain political actors and sections of the media are unfounded and without any basis in fact or law and that any insinuation that NewsClick functions as a ‘mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China or other interests is false’. It also adds that it has its faith in the Indian courts and that the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, has, having found a prima facie case in favour of NewsClick, granted interim relief from arrest to various officials of the Company. It is also notable that the Hon’ble Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Special Acts) Delhi has dismissed a complaint filed by the income tax authority against NewsClick, finding the same to be without merit.

NAPM demands an end to the persecution of independent media and other progressive media portals that hold the State and elected Governments accountable to their mandate in the Constitution and democratic laws of the land. We extend our solidarity to NewsClick, The Wire, Alt News and numerous other media organizations, fact-checking portals who are at the ‘receiving end’ of state ire and fire in these horrid times and are yet making best of their efforts, to inform the common people of news with factual updates and objective analysis.

Issued by: National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

E-mail: [email protected]


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