A NewsClick investor, Worldwide Media Holdings, in a statement released on Friday, 6 October, said that it “strictly followed all aspects of Indian law.”
American lawyer Jason Pfetcher, who is the manager of Worldwide Media Holdings that is owned by People’s Support Foundation, said,
“Given the repression that is now taking place, it begs the question as to whether India is a safe place for foreign investors who carefully follow Indian law.”
Pfetcher’s statement comes amid a crackdown by the Delhi Police on journalists and contributors associated with NewsClick.
The news organisation’s founder and editor in chief, Prabir Purkayastha, and human resources head Amit Chakraborty were arrested on Tuesday, 3 October.
On the same day, a special cell of the Delhi Police conducted raids across the residences of over 40 journalists, seized their electronic devices, and questioned them about their reportage during the farmers’ protest, the anti-CAA-NRC protests, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Purkayastha has also been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for being part of a "larger criminal conspiracy" to "disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India."
Pfetcher’s, in the statement, said,
“PSF has never received funds from a foreign government. While I have attended various shareholder meetings of Newsclick on behalf of WMH, none of the principals of PSF or WMH, including myself, have ever influenced, guided, or directed the journalistic work of Newsclick.”
Pfetcher also claimed that the “slanderous article” that the New York Times published on 5 August this year, which appears to be “the basis for this action by the Indian government,” did not include his response to the reporters.
“The New York Times failed to include PSF’s categorical denial of foreign funding, and instead left readers to believe that the source of PSF’s funding (or Roy’s for that matter) might have come from China, rather than from the sale of ThoughtWorks. Their salacious headlines and misleading ‘reporting’ have now directly contributed to the arrest of innocent journalists.”