The Editors Guild of India has expressed concern over the Income Tax raids at the offices of the newspaper group, Dainik Bhaskar, as well as a Lucknow based independent news channel, Bharat Samachar.
The IT Department conducted raids across several states against the Dainik Bhaskar group as well as Bharat Samachar for alleged tax evasion, drawing a sharp response from several quarters, including an uproar in Rajya Sabha.
In a press statement, the EGI said that it is concerned that government agencies are being used as a coercive tool to suppress free and independent journalism.
The statement undersigned by EGI President Seema Mustafa, General Secretary Sanjay Kapoor and Treasurer Anant Nath, said the raids are all the more disturbing given the recent media reports on the wide spread surveillance of journalists and civil society activists using the Pegasus software.
“They have come against the backdrop of in depth reporting on the pandemic by Dainik Bhaskar, which brought to fore the gross mismanagement by government authorities and the immense loss of human lives,” it said.
With regard to Bharat Samachar, EGI said, “It is one of the few channels in UP that has been asking difficult questions from the state government with respect to pandemic management.”
"Notwithstanding the merits of the case, the timing of these raids is concerning given the recent critical coverage by both the organisations,” the EGI said.