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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 11 February, 2021

  • 5 Min Read

Media as target

Media as target

Introduction

  • ED’s raids in the office of independent digital news platform NewsClick have invited justified condemnation from organisations representing the media.
  • There is every likelihood that this operation is linked to the platform’s in-depth coverage of ongoing protests as well as the various struggles of the people and the grassroot organisations that represent them.
  • The ED is said to be investigating alleged money-laundering to the tune of ?30 crore.
  • Not much is known about the nature of the police case, but the agency is empowered by the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act to investigate if the proceeds of crime related to a ‘predicate offence’ have been laundered.

Case of suspicion

  • It is difficult to brush aside the suspicion that the website is being targeted for its coverage of the farmers’ agitation as well as last year’s country-wide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
  • The present regime’s record is quite dismal when it comes to the obvious use of central agencies such as the CBI, ED, IT and even the NIA, to rein in dissenting voices.
  • It is unfortunate that specialised agencies are allowing themselves to be used as force multipliers in political battles against sections of the Opposition.
  • Laws that are serious in nature and ought not to be invoked lightly are being used with abandon against those seen to have invited the establishment’s wrath.
  • This may explain the frequency with which the offence of sedition (Section 124A) is being invoked for speeches and writings, while allegations of anti-national activity peddled by those groomed to build such narratives lead to action under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
  • In other instances, cases of promoting social enmity or outraging religious sentiments are also slapped selectively to ‘discipline’ comedians and script-writers.
  • The Supreme Court’s intervention has protected prominent journalists from arrest for defamation for tweets that turned out to be incorrect.

Source: TH


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