We had put out a statement yesterday stating that Razorpay, our donation platform, had disabled our account. Shortly after that, Razorpay re-enabled our account and issued a statement that they had temporarily deactivated our account upon receiving a request from police authorities, and have reactivated it after getting some clarity.
It has not been specified by them as to what this ‘clarity’ is. However, if Razorpay had indeed found that we had violated their terms of services, they wouldn’t have re-enabled our account.
At this point, we wish to reiterate that only Indian bank accounts can make donations to Alt News, and foreign credit cards were never enabled in the Razorpay backend. Therefore, allegations of Alt News having received funds from foreign sources from whom we cannot receive donations are false.
Since we are committed to transparency to our readers and donors, we also wish to inform all of you that Razorpay handed over Alt News donor data to the police.
This was done without informing us, or without even a preliminary investigation of any violation on the part of Alt News. While we look for alternatives, we will continue with Razorpay as the donation platform for now.
Our donation form asks for information such as email address, phone number, PAN card number, and address. We still need to collect this information from our donors, as this is based on various Government regulations. If you value the work we do, then please continue supporting us. Thank you for all the love and support.
Multiple allegations have been cast upon Alt News and its parent organization 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.
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. All the donations collected through these means go to the organization’s bank account.
The allegation that individuals associated with the organization have received funds in their personal accounts is also false since the individuals associated with the organization 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.
Alt News is an Indian non-profit fact-checking website founded and run by former software engineers Pratik Sinha and Muhammed Zubair.
Since launching the website, Pratik Sinha has received threats to his life, demanding that he stop producing content. In 2022, Muhammad Zubair was arrested by Delhi police for “hurting religious sentiments” by a satirical tweet from 2018 —showing a scene from a comedy film released in 1982— which was complained to be disregarding Hindu sentiments by an anonymous Twitter user; journalist bodies, human rights organizations, and the political opposition perceived the arrest as a revenge against his role in the 2022 BJP Muhammad remarks controversy and Alt News’ work of fighting misinformation in the society while noting of diminishing press freedom in Modi’s India.