Arrest of fact-checker in India raises concerns over press freedom

The arrest of journalist Mohammed Zubair in India’s New Delhi for a 2018 tweet has sparked concerns over press freedom. Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, is critical of Prime Minister Modi’s government and advocates against hate speech targeting India’s Muslim minority. Supporters view his arrest as politically motivated to silence a government critic.

Authorities in India’s capital city of New Delhi arrested Muslim journalist Mohammed Zubair for a 2018 tweet that allegedly hurt religious sentiments and promoted enmity. 

Zubair, who is the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

He also routinely calls out hate speech by Hindu fringe groups on the internet and writes about the marginalization of India’s Muslim minority.

Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha said Zubair was arrested illegally and was being held by Delhi Police.

His arrest has been condemned by supporters as a politically motivated attempt to silence a government critic and harass him due to his journalism.