The International Press Institute global network has condemned the raid by Delhi Police on the founder editors and reports at the The Wire after a complaint by BJP leader Amit Malaviya.
Two days ago, Delhi police searched the homes of The Wire editors Siddharth Varadarajan, MK Venu, Sidharth Bhatia, and Jahnavi Sen as well as at The Wire’s offices. The police seized several mobile phones and laptops belonging to the editors.
The raids are in connection with a news report published by The Wire earlier this month claiming that Amit Malviya had a special arrangement with the Meta under which Meta would remove content upon the BJP’s request. The Wire’s report was later found to be incorrect and based on fabricated documents and the news site later retracted it. It issued an apology to its readers and said it would be conducting a comprehensive review of its editorial processes. Malviya, the controversial Hindutva figure, later filed a complaint against the paper’s editors for defamation and forgery, among other charges.
“Indian authorities must stop their harassment of The Wire and its editors and return all equipment seized”, said IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen.
“The raids on the news site’s offices and the homes of its editors, as well as the confiscation of mobile phones and other devices which may contain sensitive information related to the journalists’ work, are disproportionate, excessive, and a violation of press freedom,” he added.
He went on to say: “The Wire has already stated that its news reporting in this case was not accurate and has taken steps to address the issue. However, this controversy must not be used as an excuse to intimidate The Wire as one of India’s leading critical news sites.”