Fact-check website AltNews rebuts Delhi police charges
Fact-checking website AltNews on Monday denied receiving funds “from foreign sources from whom we cannot receive donations”, contending that the allegation marked an attempt to “shut down” its operations.
It also clarified that all the donations it collects go to the organisation’s bank account and not to any individual’s account.
The statements run counter to the Delhi police’s allegation that AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair had received foreign donations totalling Rs 2 lakh.
Zubair had been arrested on June 27 on charges of promoting enmity between groups and hurting religious sentiments. A Delhi court on July 2 denied bail to Zubair and sent him to 14 days’ judicial custody after the police added new charges, saying he had received donations from Pakistan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia and the matter required further investigation.
“Multiple allegations have been cast upon AltNews and its parent organisation Pravda Media Foundation in the past few days. The allegations claim that we have received funds from foreign sources from whom we cannot receive donations. These allegations are categorically false,” a statement issued by AltNews said.
“Our payment platform through which we receive donations does not allow receipt of funds from foreign sources and we have received donations from Indian bank accounts only.
“The allegation that individuals associated with the organisation have received funds in their personal accounts is also false since the individuals associated with the organisation only get monthly remuneration.
“All of this is an attempt to shut down the very critical work that we do, and we will fight this attempt to shut us down and come out on top.”
Zubair and AltNews have been under attack for their relentless debunking of fake news and false claims peddled by Right-wing groups.
Zubair was arrested for a 2018 tweet that showed a still image from a 1983 Hindi film that had been screened without controversy. His arrest came weeks after he had highlighted the now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s derogatory comments on Prophet Mohammed.
The Delhi police have registered an FIR against Sharma but have not arrested her so far.
Zubair’s counsel Vrinda Grover has said in court that her client is being maliciously targeted for “challenging people who are influential”, and for his religion.