Eminent citizens express solidarity with Newsclick

“Since its inception, Newsclick has provided critical coverage of government policies and actions and their adverse impact on the lives of millions of our countrymen and women,” read the statement.

Updated - August 17, 2023 12:46 pm IST

Published - August 16, 2023 10:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Newsclick founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha. File

Newsclick founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha. File | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

Expressing solidarity with Newsclick, over 700 eminent citizens have taken strong exception to what they have described as the spurious accusations levelled against the online news portal and its founder and Editor-in-Chief, Prabir Purkayastha, based on claims published in a New York Times report.

Among the signatories to a statement released on Wednesday on their behalf are senior journalists, leaders of people’s movements, a former judge, lawyers, academics, scientists, writers, artists, filmmakers and actors. “We, the undersigned, strongly protest the targeting of Newsclick and express our solidarity with the struggle to defend our Constitutional right to freedom of speech,” it said.

“Since its inception, Newsclick has provided critical coverage of government policies and actions and their adverse impact on the lives of millions of our countrymen and women, focussing particularly on the struggles of the most oppressed and exploited sections of our society, its workers and peasants. It has sought to articulate their anguish and distress and to highlight the role of people’s movements of all hues fighting for social justice,” read the statement.

Stating that the news portal had also carried reports that critically analysed international events seen through the often differing perspectives of individual authors, the release said: “The hounding of Newsclick is an attack on the freedom of expression enshrined in our Constitution. It is an attack on the conscientious role of independent journalism in a democracy to inform its readers about the government’s failings and to hold the government accountable.”

“It is an attack on the right of the people of this country to information that can enable them to fight against injustice. Unfortunately, in the era of corporate-owned media, the space for independent journalism that is free of corporate influence has shrunk. It is all the more unfortunate that a vicious media trial is being staged although investigation into the allegations brought against Newsclick are in court,” said the release.

Among the signatories are John Dayal, former editor and political activist; N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu Group of Publications and Director, The Hindu Group; Prem Shankar Jha, journalist; Siddharth Varadarajan and M.K. Venu, founding editors, The Wire; Sudheendra Kulkarni,  politician and columnist; P. Sainath,  columnist; Vaishna Roy, Editor, Frontline; Bezwada Wilson, National Convenor, Safai Karmachari Andolan; Aruna Roy, founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan; Justice K. Chandru, former Judge of the Madras High Court; senior advocates Sanjay Hegde, Colin Gonsalves and Prashant Bhushan.

Harsh Mander, Syeda Hameed, K. Satchidanandan, Jerry Pinto, Damodar Mauzo, Romila Thapar, Sumit Sarkar, K.M. Shrimali, Tanika Sarkar, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, Jayati Ghosh, C.P. Chandrashekhar, Zoya Hasan, Jean Dreze, Ratna Pathak Shah, Naseeruddin Shah and Anand Patwardhan have also endorsed the statement, according to the release.

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