Another New Delhi-based French journalist claims ‘forced to leave India’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Another New Delhi-based French journalist claims ‘forced to leave India’

Jun 21, 2024 02:15 PM IST

The Indian government didn't immediately issue a statement on the matter.

French journalist Sébastien Farcis, who has been working in India as a South Asia correspondent for the past 13 years, alleged that he was forced to return to France after his journalist permit was denied renewal. He called it an “incomprehensible censorship”.

Farcis has been working for Radio France Internationale, Radio France, Libration and the Swiss and Belgian public radios. (X/Sébastien Farcis)
Farcis has been working for Radio France Internationale, Radio France, Libration and the Swiss and Belgian public radios. (X/Sébastien Farcis)

The Indian government didn't immediately issue a statement on the matter.

Sébastien Farcis has been working for Radio France Internationale, Radio France, Libration and the Swiss and Belgian public radios.

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“After 13 years working as a correspondent in India, the authorities have denied me a permit to work as a journalist. I have thus been forced to leave the country,” Sébastien Farcis wrote on X.

Farcis said that he left India on June 17.

“Three months ago, on 7th March, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) denied the renewal of my journalist permit, preventing me from practising my profession and depriving me of all my income. No reason has been provided to justify this work ban, despite formal and repeated requests made to the MHA. I have tried to appeal also, but to no avail so far,” he added.

Working in India since 2011, Farcis claimed he has all the necessary visas and accreditations.

“I have respected the regulations imposed in India for foreign journalists and never worked in restricted or protected areas without a permit,” he said.

The French journalist claimed that on several occasions the MHA had allowed him to report even in the border areas. “Therefore, this work ban comes as a big shock.”

Farcis said he was informed of the news on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections in India, which he was “forbidden” to cover.

Speaking about the move's great impact on his family, Farcis said he was married to an Indian woman and held an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status. He claimed that he was being asked to leave without any reason.

“I am therefore deeply attached to India, which has become my second homeland. But with no more work nor income, my family has been pushed out of India without explanation, and uprooted overnight for no apparent reason.”

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Farcis is the second French journalist to be denied permission to report in India this year.

In February, Vanessa Dougnac, a South Asia correspondent for 23 years, claimed that her OCI card was cancelled by the MHA for creating a “biased negative perception” of India through her work.

Farcis said, “This denial comes in a worrying context of increasing restrictions on the work of foreign journalists: after Vanessa Dougnac, I am the second French journalist in four months having to leave India under these conditions. At least five OCl foreign correspondents have been banned from working as journalists in less than two years.”

Farcis added that he applied for a new permit to work in India, and he hoped it would be accepted. “In the meantime, as I am not able to work, I am forced to return to France.”

Liberation, the organisation that Farcis worked with, quoting Farcis said in a news report, “Once again, on Wednesday, Libé contacted the Indian embassy in France for official explanations. The embassy only promised to forward an email to its superiors in New Delhi. In a letter sent on March 27 to the ambassador in Paris, Dov Alfon, the director of publication and editorial of the newspaper, along with Jean-Marc Four and Jean-Philippe Baille, respectively the directors of RFI and news at Radio France, the other two employers of Farcis, had already requested clarification about a decision ‘infringing on the freedom to inform’. This letter has remained unanswered.”

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