The Editors Guild of India is “deeply disturbed” by the Income Tax “surveys” at the offices of Newsclick and Newslaundry, the association said in a today.
“This was a clear intimidatory and blatant attack on their rights, and therefore press freedom,” the guild said, adding that it was deeply concerned that such indiscriminate seizure of data, which could include sensitive information such as details of sources, stories under works and other journalistic material, “is in violation of free speech and freedom of press”.
The guild noted that both Newsclick and Newslaundry have been “critical of policies and functioning of the union government”. “The dangerous trend of government agencies harassing and intimidating independent media must stop as it undermines our constitutional democracy,” it said.
The association demanded that “great care and sensitivity” be shown in all such investigations so as to “not undermine the rights of journalists and media organisations”. Further, it demanded that investigations be conducted “within the prescribed rules” and that they “don’t degenerate into instruments of harassment to intimidate independent media”.