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Prominent journalist and NewsClick’s founder, Prabir Purkayastha, was arrested in India on allegations of accepting foreign funds to promote pro-China narratives. He, along with Amit Chakravarty, the head of human resources at the news website, was taken into custody under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and charges of criminal conspiracy.
The arrests followed raids at the New Delhi-based news portal’s office and residences of several associated journalists and writers. The probe involved seizing laptops and mobile phones as part of an investigation into the suspected illegal foreign financing of the media organization.
According to a Home Ministry official, “A special investigations team launched a search operation to identify all those individuals who were possibly getting funds from overseas to run a media group with the main agenda of spreading foreign propaganda.”
This comes after a New York Times report suggested that NewsClick had received funding from US millionaire Neville Roy Singham, who was accused of disseminating “Chinese government talking points” and having close ties with Beijing. Both Singham and NewsClick have denied these allegations. Purkayastha had previously stated that they would address the charges in court.
The Press Club of India expressed grave concern over the recent raids, prompting a group of journalists to plan a protest march in New Delhi. While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended the raids, citing the necessity of investigating foreign funding in media
Tensions between India and China have escalated since 2020 following a border clash that resulted in casualties on both sides. In its aftermath, India initiated various measures, including banning several Chinese-owned apps and launching tax investigations into some Chinese businesses.