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Communist Kavita Krishnan reveals how she shielded NewsClick and refused to reveal their China links even though NYT had approached her

Indian communists have long been suspected of harbouring extraterritorial loyalties and having a soft corner for the authoritarian regime of China, something which got reaffirmed with Kavita Krishnan's glib article in The Scroll, where she sought to shield the embattled portal when the NYT approached her for comments on its Neville Roy Singham story.

Kavita Krishnan, a far-left communist ideologue, recently shed light on how she tried shielding NewsClick, a leftist rag under the scanner in a Chinese funding row after the New York Times had approached her for comment following its explosive investigation that revealed how its benefactor, Neville Roy Singham, has links with the top echelons of the CCP and is involved in funding organisations for propagating Chinese talking points.

In an article published in the leftwing propaganda outlet, The Scroll, Krishnan offered a glib defence of the NewsClick portal and its links to China by denigrating the Modi government and attributing vendetta motives to them. It is the same cliched argument that left-liberal “intellectuals” and opposition politicians resort to when caught red-handed indulging in subversion and anti-national activities.

Titled “NYT’s report has been weaponised against Indian journalists. I had warned the paper about it”, Krishnan cunningly tries to whitewash NewsClick propagandists as ‘Indian journalists’, with an emphasis on their nationality as a means to tap into the nationalist sentiments and absolve them of any wrongdoing. Ironically, Krishnan and her ilk go hammer and tongs against the Centre when it invokes nationalism in matters about national security.

This hypocrisy aside, the article is generously sprinkled with strawman arguments and leftwing propaganda tropes to unfairly accuse the Modi government of repression and sweep the embarrassing links of NewsClick with the China-funded patron under the carpet.

For instance, the article is dishonest in not revealing that Prabir Purkayastha and the NewsClick team were introduced to Chinese handlers by Neville Roy Singham to defend China’s handling of COVID-19. Not just that, Krishnan is also insincere in hiding the fact that Purkayastha took instructions from Singham on how to report the India-China border standoff. The purported email exchanges between the two that surfaced online demonstrated the well-oiled Chinese propaganda machinery’s directions to leftist media portals like Newsclick to parrot the Chinese line, irrespective of the fact that it violates and impinges on national interest or goes against India’s stated sovereign boundaries.

Instead, Krishnan grotesquely tried to characterise NewsClick and its propagandists as the victims of media repression. She claims that when the New York Times approached for her comments on its investigation that found the involvement of NewsClick in propagating Chinese propaganda, she warned the American daily that it would be “weaponised” by the Modi government to further tighten the noose around “journalists” doing their jobs.

Such gaslighting is a hallmark of not just India’s leftwing ecosystem but the global left, where aggressors are painted as victims and police action against potential culprits is characterised as “fascism”, “authoritarianism”, “repression”, and with other such loaded jargon.

Krishnan summarily rejects the findings of the damning investigation by the New York Times that found links between NewsClick and China’s propaganda machinery, not based on any hard evidence but on her conviction informed by her communist inclinations. In a nutshell, she wants her readers to believe that the NYT investigation was junk, that it didn’t prove the criminality of NewsClick and its staff and that it only served as a catalyst for the Modi government to act against ‘journalists’.

According to Krishnan, the NewsClick ‘journalists’ were not paid propagandists of the Chinese regime because she says so. Krishnan does not bother to furnish any evidence to counter the assertions made by the Indian law enforcement agencies and the New York Times investigation. Instead, she wants everyone to take her claims as gospel and that ‘journalists’ of NewsClick were being persecuted for “continuing to do their duty as journalists”.

Intellectual dishonesty is another trait long mastered by the leftists. Krishnan passingly mentions that a case against NewsClick and its links with China has been under the scanner of Indian law enforcement agencies long before the New York Times investigation surfaced online. With The New York Times, which has rarely aligned with the democratically elected Modi government that has refused to adhere to the leftist worldview, arriving at the same conclusions as the Indian law enforcement agencies regarding NewsClick’s links with China is a scathing indictment of the communists and propagandists who are paid for by China to promote its propaganda and undermine Indian interests.

However, instead of questioning NewsClick, Krishnan passed the buck on the Indian government, leaning on leftist rhetorics against it to brand it as a regime bent on squelching media freedom.

After refusing to be quoted by the New York Times, Krishnan reportedly “took great pains’ to dissuade the lead reporter of the American daily from referencing NewsClick in the American daily’s story. She then trotted out the same tropes leftwing ideologues resort to when exposed for harbouring extraterritorial loyalties in their bid to topple a government that refuses to abide by their ideological principles.

Additionally, Krishnan also used the New York Times article to promote her longstanding propaganda of discrediting punitive action against those accused of riots, arson, and vandalism, including those charged under UAPA, and shielding them as victims of political repression. She then goes on to lavish praises on the NewsClick and its staff, hailing it as a beacon of ‘journalistic integrity’, relegating the grave accusations against it by the NYT investigation as mere ‘financial ‘impropriety’. Taking money from China is after all just a ‘financial impropriety’, as per Kavita, notwithstanding the fact that money is often used as an instrument to sway public opinion and run propaganda.

Krishnan then goes on to make a fantastic leap of faith, claiming that the democratically elected Modi government drew inspiration from Xi Jinping’s rule in China and that New Delhi was in close cooperation with Beijing in rationalising China’s treatment of Uyghurs and human rights abuses. Only lamebrained could conceive that India was cooperating with China at a time when the two countries were embroiled in a tense border standoff and had had a deadly clash at the Galwan Valley. That Krishnan thinks New Delhi is in cahoots with Beijing underscores her poor understanding of geopolitics and India’s foreign relations.

But to acquit NewsClick and its ‘journalists’, Krishnan not only goes on to make that outlandish claim but also takes great pain to make her case, citing India’s abstention in UN votes that are subject to realpolitik and rooted in Indian interests. Rather than posing questions to NewsClick and its propagandists over links with China, Krishnan slams the NYT for its story, as if NewsClick was beyond reproach and cannot be questioned for its purported links with China’s propaganda machinery.

Resorting to banal rhetorics that has been relied upon for far too long by the opposition parties and leftwing intellectuals hostile to the Modi government, Krishnan claims that the recent raids against NewsClick and its ‘journalists’ was what she had warned the New York Times when they had first approached her for a comment on the Neville Roy Singham story.

Krishnan and those who share her views regard any outlets or individuals disseminating information against the Modi government as reputable news sources and journalists of unwavering ethical standards. They believe that challenging them on substantial accusations is an attempt to “suppress the media”. Krishnan’s latest piece in The Scroll is one such shoddy attempt to project NewsClick and those associated with it as honest and upright, regardless of their links with China-funded benefactor, purported email exchanges with Chinese handlers, NYT investigation, and the action by the Indian law enforcement agencies that reveal NewsClick may not be as noble and virtuous as Krishnan claims it to be.

Krishnan’s refusal to acknowledge the Chinese links of NewsClick and its ‘journalists’ and her attempt to project police action against them as media suppression once again demonstrates that the Indian Left ecosystem would rather have the country subverted by a foreign power in their pathological hatred of a man rather than hold to account a propaganda website masquerading as a news portal and undermining the country’s sovereignty.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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