A probe has been initiated by the Income Tax Department against English daily, the Hindu in relation to alleged financial transactions between the newspaper and China. According to a report of Sputnik, a complaint was filed on October 2 by a Maharashtra-based pressure group called Legal Rights Observatory (LRO) addressed to the Home Ministry.
The complaint sought an investigation into the financial transactions between China and The Hindu after the newspaper published a full-page advertisement from the Chinese Ēmbassy on October 1 marking the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It could only be interpreted as an Indian newspaper running Chinese state propaganda.
#BREAKING MHA forwarded #LRO complaint dt Oct 02/20 against @the_hindu to #CBDT @IncomeTaxIndia to investigate possible massive money inflow between #Chinese Intelligence n newpaper to publish China propaganda; sought report in 30 days. Cash flow likely to gets exposed @nistula pic.twitter.com/lswcqvebzm— Legal Rights Observatory- LRO (@LegalLro) October 18, 2020
The Home Ministry forwarded the complaint to the Income Tax Department on October 18, 2020 and gave a period of thirty days to the department to submit its report. In the complaint, the LRO termed the publication of the advertisement by the Hindu as a “brazen act of sedition” in view of the escalating tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The organisation claimed that the probe would reveal if the Hindu received any advertising revenue the Chinese embassy and that even if the advertisement was free of charge it would still be problematic.
Complaint filed against Hindustan Times
The LRO has also written a letter to the Home Ministry today requesting to initiate an investigation against the Hindustan Times newspaper for providing editorial space to Chinese mouthpiece China Daily in its October 30 edition.
Wrote letter to @HMOIndia to launch multi agency probe of @HindustanTimes comprising @IncomeTaxIndia @dir_ed @NIA_India to investigate #Chinese payment to HT to publish #ChinaWatch advert in newspaper undermining Indian interest to further CH #UFWD propaganda #Ladakh @Chellaney pic.twitter.com/hjiGYujlBZ— Legal Rights Observatory- LRO (@LegalLro) November 2, 2020
Terming the publication of Chinese advertisement by Hindustan Times as “undermining of Indian interests to further the the United Front Work Department’s (UFWD) propaganda”, the organisation requested the Home Ministry to initiate a multi-agency probe into the alleged financial transactions involving the Enforcement Directorate, the I-T Department and the National Investigation Agency.
Indian Media peddling Chinese propaganda
On the 1st of October, The Hindu ran a full-page advertorial paid for and planted by China. The paid content appeared on the 3rd page of the paper. Interestingly, the paid content by China that was published by The Hindu on Page 3 did not appear on the digital website of The Hindu.
After the Hindu, The Hindustan Times carried a four-page supplement by China Daily, starting from the 8th page with a disclaimer, “This supplement, prepared by China Daily, People’s Republic of China, did not involve the news or editorial departments of Hindustan Times.” The supplement focused on China’s massive infrastructure project on its second-longest waterway, how the young minds from China were actively working with the United Nations on a global stage to make an impact in underprivileged countries and how China was preserving its culture across centuries while not compromising on its development.