French Journalist Sebastien Farcis not forced to leave, work permit still under consideration: India

  • The Ministry of External Affairs denied claims by French journalist Sebastien Farcis that he was forced to leave India. Farcis, an OCI cardholder, awaits renewal of his work permit. His departure adds to concerns about press freedom in India, amid recent visa issues for other foreign journalists.

Livemint
First Published22 Jun 2024, 11:43 AM IST
French journalist Sebastien Farcis. (X)
French journalist Sebastien Farcis. (X)

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has refuted claims made by French journalist Sebastien Farcis that he was "forced to leave" India. MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal clarified that Sebastien Farcis' application for the renewal of his work permit is still under consideration.

"Farcis is an OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card holder and, under our regulations, requires approval to carry out journalistic assignments," stated Jaiswal. "He has re-applied for renewal of his work permit in May 2024, and to the best of my knowledge, his case is under consideration. He has the right to make a decision in so far as his travel out of the country is concerned."

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Farcis had claimed on Thursday that he was "forced to leave" India after the Union Home Ministry refused to renew his permit. "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," he said on X.

Sebastien Farcis served as the South Asia correspondent for Radio France Internationale, Radio France, Liberation, and the Swiss and Belgian public radios. "On June 17, I was forced to leave India, a country where I had lived and worked as a journalist for 13 years, as a South Asia correspondent for Radio France Internationale, Radio France, Liberation and the Swiss and Belgian public radios," Farcis reiterated.

This incident follows the February departure of French journalist Vanessa Dougnac, who left India after the government revoked her Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.

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Farcis emphasized that he had been working in India since 2011 and had obtained all necessary visas and accreditations.

Concerns over press freedom in India

Sebastien Farcis, a French journalist, announced his departure from India on Thursday, citing the denial of a work permit as an act of "incomprehensible censorship." He claimed that the refusal to renew his permit prevented him from covering the Indian general elections, describing it as a significant shock and an instance of censorship. Farcis also highlighted that no reasons were provided despite his formal requests.

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Farcis' departure adds to growing concerns about media freedom in India, with critics alleging increasing restrictions on journalists. India has recently been ranked 159 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index. Earlier this year, Australian journalist Avani Dias also left India after facing challenges with visa renewals.

(With Inputs from PTI, AFP)

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First Published:22 Jun 2024, 11:43 AM IST
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