DIGIPUB India, a collective of independent digital news portals, on Monday outrightly condemned Delhi Police raids on the homes of the editors of The Wire (a member of DIGIPUB) based on a criminal defamation complaint filed by BJP’s IT cell chief, Amit Malviya.
“A journalist or a media organisation that publishes a false report ought to be held accountable by its peers and civil society. But for the police carry out immediate and arbitrary search of editors’ homes, based entirely on a private complaint of defamation filed by a spokesperson of the ruling party smack of malafide intentions,” said a statement issued by the collective, of which eleven organisations including the Wire, NewsClick are also among the founding members along with 11 organisaions such as News Minute, Newslaundry, Article 14, Scroll, AltNews also among others.
DigipubIndia (@DIGIPUB News India Foundation) Tweeted: DIGIPUB’s statement on police searches on the homes of the editors and a reporter of @thewire_in
Digipub’s statement on police searches on the homes of the editors and a reporter of The Wire pic.twitter.com/ewZCIZNL4C
— DIGIPUB News India Foundation (@DigipubIndia) November 1, 2022
The statement also expressed serious concern over the danger of these searches “being used as an excuse to seize and duplicate confidential and sensitive data held by The Wire.”
The association also expressed concerns that the investigation could become “a tool to further worsen the already fraught state of journalism in India”.
All democrats must share our deep concern over the Delhi police’s reported “search” of the residences & devices of The Wire’s Siddharth Varadarajan and M. K. Venu. What is the legal justification for targeting them? Amit Malviya’s over-the-top complaint?
— N. Ram (@nramind) October 31, 2022
The complaint was filed by Amit Malviya, BJP’s IT cell chief, just two days ago, following a first information report registered by the Delhi Police accuses The Wire of cheating, forgery, defamation and criminal conspiracy referring to a series of stories on Meta, one of which had named him.
The veracity of the stories was denied by Meta, which alleged that the documents and emails used were “fabricated”. The Wire retracted the stories on October 23, admitting that it had failed in due diligence and filed a complaint against its key technology expert, Devesh Kumar, who allegedly “deceived” them. The Wire, apart from retracting the stories and apologising to its vast readership, had also announced a due diligence internal inquiry into the entire affair.