Editors Guild, Amnesty, CPJ Asia Condemn I-T Raids at The Quint
The Editors Guild said that ‘motivated’ income-tax searches and surveys will seriously undermine media freedom.
The Editors Guild of India on Thursday, 11 October expressed "concern” over the search and survey conducted by the Income Tax Department at the offices of Quintillion Media and the residence of its founders – Raghav Bahl and Ritu Kapur.
The raids, which began at 8.00 am on Thrusday wrapped up early into the morning of Friday, culminating into a 22-hour search.
Besides the The Quint office and the residence of the founders, I-T officers were present in Bengaluru at the office of Quintype (another company within the same corporate group) and the news website, The News Minute (which Quintillion Media holds a stake in).
Stating that while tax administration can rightfully make inquiries in compliance with relevant laws, "it should not exercise those powers in a way that could be seen as an intimidation of the government's critics," the statement read.
The Guild believes that ‘motivated’ income-tax searches and surveys will seriously undermine media freedom and the government should desist from such attempts.Editors Guild of India
A Clampdown on Free Press, Says Amnesty
Amnesty International India, in a statement, said that the “search indicates clampdown on free press”.
The Income Tax Department’s ‘search’ on Quintillion Media Private Ltd, which runs a news website ‘The Quint’, and the homes of its owners, Raghav Bahl and Ritu Kapoor, indicates a clampdown on free press. It raises disturbing questions on whether the news website is being targeted for speaking truth to power. It appears that the authorities are attempting to silence anyone expressing views that are critical of the government.Aakar Patel, Amnesty India
CPJ Asia Expresses Concern
The Committee for Protection of Justice (CPJ) Asia took to Twitter to express their concern over tax officials cloning data from Kapur's gadgets.
This is a direct attack on journalistic freedom.CPJ Asia
In his statement, Raghav Bahl had said:
We are a fully tax compliant entity, and will provide all access to all appropriate financial documents.
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