Photo: Emergency event held by journalists to protest the raids against NewsClick. Credit — @poornimajoshi72
The Party for Socialism and Liberation is joining with other progressive activists and organizations for a rally outside the New York Times today (Oct. 3) at 6:00 p.m. to hold them accountable for provoking this grave assault on press freedom.
In its latest anti-democratic attack on journalists, the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unleashed dozens of raids today targeting the highly popular progressive news outlet NewsClick. Indian media outlets cited a New York Times article that smeared NewsClick journalists as the pretext for their arrests. The Party for Socialism and Liberation condemns this assault on press freedoms, carried out to intimidate all those who speak out against the far right agenda of the Modi government. Protest demonstrations in India against the arrests have been scheduled for the coming days.
These widespread police raids come shortly after the New York Times published an article full of shameful McCarthyite smears directed against journalists and activists who the Times falsely insinuate are part of a global influence operation of the Chinese government. NewsClick was one of the targeted outlets, and following the publication of the article in the Times it became the target of intense attack by right wing politicians and media outlets. While posturing as a champion of freedom of the press, the New York Times in fact provokes crackdowns on free expression through their overriding loyalty to the Pentagon’s new Cold War.
The Modi government is pursuing an aggressive program to fundamentally reshape India and roll back many of the rights enjoyed by the people. This includes shredding the secular character of the Indian government to make way for a Hindu fundamentalist regime – the overarching goal of the RSS fascist organization that founded Modi’s political party. Modi’s government is viciously opposed to the interests of workers and farmers, pursuing economic policies that benefit big corporations.
To accomplish this far-right vision, the Modi government has been turning to increasingly repressive methods and accusing left-wing critics of being “anti-national.” Today’s raids were justified on the basis of an anti-terrorism law that gives authorities sweeping powers and is routinely abused for political ends. And this is not the first time that NewClick in particular has been targeted by police action.
NewsClick and the journalists who work there are being targeted because they dare to raise their voice against the anti-China narrative, and against the far right policies of the Modi government. They have not broken any laws, despite what notoriously untrustworthy outlets like the New York Times suggest. The PSL expresses our solidarity with NewsClick as it stands strong in the face of this latest attack.