RSF, Guernica 37 Chambers ask United States to sanction officers of Delhi Police

By targetting journalists, police violated press freedom



June 3, 2024

/ By / Paris

RSF, Guernica 37 Chambers ask United States to sanction officers of Delhi Police

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha was arrested under the UAPA anti-terrorism law

Paris-based press freedom organisation, Reporters without borders (RSF) and the UK-based international human rights firm Guernica 37 Chambers have jointly urged the United States to impose sanctions on officials of Delhi Police for violation of press freedom.

Rate this post

Reporters sans Frontières (RSF), a Paris-based press freedom advocacy organisation and Guernica 37 Chambers, a British human rights activist organisation, have asked the  United States to impose sanctions on officials of Delhi Police accused of violating press freedom by targeting journalists associated with NewsClick, an Indian news website.

In a press statement, RSF says that the two organisations have recommended to the US Department of State and Department of Treasury to adopt targeted sanctions against four officials of Special Cell of Delhi Police, who were reportedly implicated in an unprecedented crackdown on journalists in India.

It adds that in October 2023, the Special Cell team raided the homes of 46 journalists, contributors, and former or current employees of NewsClick, seizing over 480 electronic devices.

RSF says that the  NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha was also arrested under the UAPA anti-terrorism law and detained in Delhi’s Tihar Prison for 179 days without charge. He was released on bail on May 15 following a Supreme Court order deeming his detention illegal.

It adds that the Special Cell, directly comes under India’s Home Ministry led by Amit Shah.

The statement adds that Delhi Police’s Special Cell raided 88 locations around the country and seized around 300 electronic gadgets from 80 staffers, part-time employees and freelancers associated with the news portal.

It adds that NewsClick was accused of receiving illegal Chinese funding without any substantive evidence, but were in reality targetted for their investigative reporting.

“The actions of the Delhi Police Special Cell against NewsClick journalists represent one of the most blatant attacks on press freedom in India. In March, RSF and Guernica 37 Chambers called on European Union member states to sanction these police officers. We are now calling on the US, where President Biden recently pledged to take action against those responsible for obstructing press freedom. Urgent action by the United States in this case would send a strong signal to the entire international community and a warning to the Indian authorities that the repression of journalists must stop,” says Célia Mercier South Asia desk, Reporters Without Borders.

Toby Cadman

Toby Cadman

“The Delhi Police’s Special Cell seems to be one of the go-to bodies for the Indian government to target critics, including journalists. The UAPA makes it easy for authorities to arrest and detain critical voices. Both the UN and multiple foreign governments have warned the UAPA is ripe for misuse by authorities,” says Toby Cadman Barrister and Co-founder of Guernica 37 Chambers.



    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *