A case under the UAPA was also filed against web portal NewsClick.
Multiple press bodies have condemned the Delhi police’s UAPA case against NewsClick and its search of journalists’ houses this morning.
Among those whose homes were reportedly searched were journalists Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Abhisar Sharma, Urmilesh, Aunindyo Chakraborty and Bhasha Singh, besides satirist Sanjay Rajaura and activist Sohail Hashmi. At least two journalists were also detained.
Digipub News India Foundation said it was “deeply concerned” and called the developments “another instance of the government’s pattern of arbitrary and intimidatory behaviour”.
The Network of Women in Media, India said the journalists whose homes were searched were all “prominent voices of dissent”.
“Journalists, activists and artists who speak truth to power are being unrelentingly harassed and persecuted by the government, while pliant and sycophantic mediapersons and media houses are being nurtured,” the group tweeted.
The Editors Guild said the investigation of specific offences “must not create a general atmosphere of intimidation under the shadow of draconian laws, or impinge on the freedom of expression and the raising of dissenting and critical voices”.
It urged the government to “ensure that the fourth pillar is respected, nurtured and protected”.
The Press Club of India said it stands “in solidarity” and demanded that the government “come out with details”.
The Mumbai Press Club called it a “targeted harassment campaign against these journalists” and asked for an “unbiased investigation”.
The Foundation for Media Professionals also demanded “greater disclosure by authorities on the raids today”.
Last year, the foundation filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking guidelines on the “search and seizure” of digital devices by government agencies. The Supreme Court issued notice to the union government and certain ministries soon after.
In 2021, the Enforcement Directorate had searched NewsClick premises and the homes of its senior management over a reported money laundering case related to foreign funding. Read all about it here.