Washington DC: Following the arrest of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and multiple raids at the houses of journalists, the United States has said that it is “aware” of alleged links between the media portal and China. However, amid the arrests and raids, the US has urged India to respect freedom of the press.
“We are aware of those concerns and have seen that reporting about this outlet’s ties to the PRC, but we can’t comment yet on the veracity of those claims,” stated Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the US State Department.
However, the deputy spokesperson urged the Indian government and many other countries to respect press freedom and the “human rights of journalists, including freedom of expression both online and offline.”
In August 2023, the New York Times released the alleged ties of NewsClick to China’s Communist Party in an investigative report. Read Here – American Billionaire Behind Spreading Chinese Propaganda in India and Abroad: NYT Report
On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, NewsClick’s founder and HR Head, Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty, were arrested under the UAPA Act by Delhi Police. Apart from their arrest, multiple raids at been held at over 50 locations tied to the portal, its employees and other media contributors.
In Delhi-NCR and Mumbai, police questioned a total of 46 “suspects” and seized all their digital devices as well. Following the crackdown on NewsClick, its New Delhi office was also sealed by the police.
As per sources, the action against NewsClick was taken after an FIR was filed on August 17, 2023. The FIR, based on inputs from the Enforcement Directorate, stated that NewsClick had been receiving funds from China, which were routed through the United States.