'Not mouthpiece of China': NewsClick refutes Anurag Thakur’s allegation
News website NewsClick has said that allegations that it is “a mouth-piece of the Communist Party of China” are false and any insinuations made in this regard by “political actors” and a section of media are without basis.
“NewsClick is an independent organisation, and any insinuation that we function as a mouth-piece of the Communist Party of China or other interests is false. We reiterate our faith in the Indian Courts, and are confident that NewsClick has, and continues to function in accordance with Indian law,” the media organisation’s Editor-in-Chief, Prabir Purkayastha said in statement issued on Monday (August 7).
“Over the past 12 hours, various false and misleading allegations have been levelled against NewsClick which pertain to matters that are currently sub-judice before courts in India. We respect the sanctity of the legal process and do not intend to indulge in a media trial. The allegations being made against us by certain political actors and sections of the media are unfounded and without basis in fact or law,” Purkayastha said.
Anurag Thakur’s allegation
He was referring to allegations made by Union Minister Anurag Thakur, who while quoting an investigative report by the New York Times, alleged that NewsClick, financed by American businessman Neville Roy Singham, was spreading the agenda of the Communist Party of China.
Thakur also alleged that the Congress was hand-in-glove with NewsClick as it had defended the media outlet during a probe into its funding by the Enforcement Directorate in 2021.
“In New Delhi, corporate filings show, Singham’s network financed a news site, NewsClick, that sprinkled its coverage with Chinese government talking points,” the NYT report said on Saturday, explaining how Singham allegedly operated a nexus of activists, shell companies, and non-profit organisation to peddle Chinese propaganda.
Funding from Chinese firms
Earlier on Monday, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, also quoting NYT, said NewsClick had received funds to the tune of Rs 38 crore from Chinese firms, which was used to produce an anti-India environment. Claiming that NewsClick was a member of anti-India tukde-tukde gang, Dubey demanded a government inquest into it. Purkayastha’s response did not address the funding by Chinese firms charge.
He, however, said the Delhi High Court has found prima facie case in favour of news website while the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Special Acts) of Delhi has also dismissed a complaint filed by the Income Tax authorities against it.
“Notably, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has, having found a prima facie case in favour of NewsClick, granted interim protection from arrest to various officials of the company. Further, the Hon’ble Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Special Acts), Delhi, has dismissed a complaint filed by the income tax authorities against Newsclick, finding the same to be without merit,” the statement read.