Frontline On Air | Assault on NewsClick marks the lowest point for media freedom in India since Emergency

LISTEN: The assault on NewsClick is essentially a story of the BJP and the Hindutva authoritarian regime at war with a medium-sized progressive and left-oriented digital news network and the independent, critical, and challenging journalism it represents.

This is not essentially a story about the police running riot. It is a political story.

Published : Jan 02, 2024 12:47 IST - 1 MIN READ

Audio StoryN. Ram

The vicious and sweeping Delhi Police raids on the offices of NewsClick and the residences of virtually anyone associated with it; the indiscriminate seizure of the electronic devices of journalists and other employees without “any adherence to due process such as the provision of seizure memos, hash values of the seized data, or even copies of the data”; the sealing of the news portal’s main office; the arrest of its founder-editor, Prabir Purkayastha, and its administrative officer, Amit Chakravarty, on terrorism-related charges; and, as though this were not enough, the searches conducted at the premises of NewsClick and the home of its founder-editor after a fresh criminal case was filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the fifth probe agency directed from above to set about this medium-sized digital news organisation—this marks the lowest point for media freedom in India since the Emergency of 1975-1977.

And there is every indication that the post-2014 downslide, which has seen India sink to the rank of 161 among 180 countries and territories in the World Press Freedom Index 2023 published by Reporters Sans Frontières, will continue—unless there is organised and effective resistance and smart, sustained collective action at various levels, professional, legal, and political.

Read the full story here.

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