Digipub slams The Wire raids, points to ‘danger of excuse to seize sensitive data’

The association of digital news outlets said the ‘arbitrary search’ based on a private complaint of defamation smacks of ‘mala fide intentions’.

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Hours after the police searched The Wire’s office and its editors’ homes in Delhi and Mumbai, the Digipub News India Foundation said the “arbitrary” action, based on a private complaint of defamation, “smacks of mala fide intentions”. It pointed out that the danger of these searches “being used as an excuse” to seize and duplicate confidential and sensitive data “cannot be dismissed”.

“A journalist or a media organisation that publishes a false report ought to be held accountable by its peers and civil society. But for the police to carry out an immediate and arbitrary search of the media house’s office and its editors’ homes, based entirely on a private complaint of defamation filed by a spokesperson of the ruling party, smacks of mala fide intentions,” the foundation said in a statement.


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“While any fair investigation must follow the rule of law, it cannot become a tool to worsen the already fraught state of journalism in India, which has steadily declined in global indices of media freedom and democracy. We have witnessed numerous recent instances where criminal prosecution and harassment by the police have intimidated and prevented journalists from doing their jobs.”

The association said that it “strongly condemns in no uncertain terms the searches” which “mainly serve the purpose of criminalising and creating a chilling effect against the profession of journalism in India”.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists has termed the raids “an excessive reaction” by the Indian authorities. “The Wire has voluntarily withdrawn its reportage on Meta and Amit Malviya, apologised to its readers, and initiated an internal review. We call on authorities and politicians to cease the harassment,” said Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, in Frankfurt, Germany. 

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