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Mainstream, VOL 60 No 38 September 10, 2022

IT Raids on NGO, Research bodies and a funder of indepedent Media | Digipub Statement

Friday 9 September 2022

DIGIPUB News India Foundation | digipubindia.in

[Sept 8, 2022]

The assault on independent journalism and research continues with IT "surveys" on the Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation, Centre for Policy Research and Oxfam. DIGIPUB condemns this repressive trend.

On 7 September 2022, the Income tax Department conducted surveys at the offices of the Independent and Public-spirited Media Foundation, the Centre for Policy Research and Oxfam India and as part of an inquiry related to alleged contravention of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.

The IPSMF promotes excellence in and funds independent, public-spirited and socially impactful journalism and supports several independent digital media platforms, something that is desperately needed in the bleak news media landscape. The CPR is a public policy think tank, while Oxfam is a global organisation dedicated to fighting poverty and injustice. Their research and reports highlight data that provide valuable insights into vital socio-economic issues. All this is important for a healthy democracy.

This is not the first time such raids have been conducted in recent years. Without any clarity on allegations or evidence, Income Tax teams are being used to intimidate and harass organisations involved in public service journalism. This is a brazen waste of human resources and of the efforts of government officials who have joined the service to add value to India’s administrative mechanism. It is an insult to their abilities to be used as political tools. The Income Tax department must clarify why these organisations have been subjected to searches and raids.

DIGIPUB strongly condemns the raids on the IPSMF, the CPR, Oxfam India.

Any attack on independent journalists is a threat to freedom of press in our country. Such actions not only diminish the fourth pillar of our democracy by also exhibiting how petrified our government is of independent media.

Dhanya Rajendran Abhinandan Sekhri

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