Claim: China embassy in India condemned raids on Newsclick staff and journalists in an official statement/press release.
Fact: satirical post by political commentator Anand Ranganathan misconstrued by many users.
The raid on the management and staff of Indian news website Newsclick has triggered a conversation around press freedom, right to privacy and national security. Among the many posts that derided the journalists who were raided, a narrative is beginning to spread, where users are claiming that Chinese embassy has issued a communique/ press release over the raids on Newsclick staff and journalists. Many are also implying that this shows the active association of Beijing with the journalists in question.
Newschecker received the claim on our WhatsApp tipline (9999499044) requesting it to be fact checked.
The same text, claiming that China issued a statement condemning the raids on Newsclick staff, was shared by many other users on social media.
We also found that several social media users were questioning the rationale behind the alleged move by the Chinese embassy in India, indicating that many believed the claim to be true.
Raid on journalists associated with Newsclick
A special cell of the Delhi police, on Tuesday (October 3, 202) arrested news portal NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief, Prabir Purkayastha, and head of its human resource department, Amit Chakravarty, after day-long searches at over 50 locations linked to the news portal, its employees and contributors. The police invoked the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, based on inputs by the Enforcement Directorate had said that Newsclick had received illegal funding from China, routed through the United States.
Newschecker began by conducting a keyword search on Google with the words “Chinese embassy” “Communique” and “Indian journalists arrest” which yielded nothing relevant.
Newschecker then looked up social media platform X ( formerly known as Twitter) to see where the claim originated and noticed that it was first shared by political commentator Anand Ranganathan, at 10:35am on October 3, 2023, just hours after the raids on the journalists began.
We noticed that several people took this to be true on face value, while many others shared laughing emojis and commented responses indicating that it was a joke and was posted in a spirit of satire.
A post by Anand Ranganathan, alleging a communique by Chinese embassy condemning the raids on Newsclick staff and journalists, intended as a satire, has been taken at face value by many social media users and shared as true.
Website of the Chinese embassy in India
Tweet by Anand Ranganathan, dated, October 3, 2023
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