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MEA dismisses French scribe's 'incomprehensible censorship' allegations

French journalist Sebastien Farcis alleged that he could not cover the parliamentary elections in India as his permit to work as a journalist had not been renewed.
Last Updated : 21 June 2024, 21:56 IST

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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar received a “congratulatory call” from his counterpart in Paris, Stéphane Séjourné, on Friday – a day after French journalist Sebastien Farcis claimed that he had been "forced to leave" India after his permit to work in the South Asian nation had not been renewed.

“Glad to receive a congratulatory phone call from French FM @steph_sejourne this afternoon. Took the opportunity to discuss further steps in the growing agenda of our strategic partnership,” Jaishankar posted on X after speaking to his counterpart in the Western European nation.

He has been receiving similar congratulatory calls from the foreign ministers of other countries ever since he commenced his second term as the external affairs minister of India.

Séjourné called Jaishankar just a day after Sebastien Farcis, the South Asia correspondent for Radio France Internationale, Radio France, Libération, and the Swiss and Belgian public radios, alleged that the Ministry of Home Affairs had on March 7 turned down his request to renew his permit to work as a journalist in India.

Farcis alleged that he could not cover the parliamentary elections in India as his permit to work as a journalist had not been renewed. “This appears to me as an incomprehensible censorship,” he posted on X.

He said that he was the second French journalist who had to leave India in four months. Venessa Dougnac, who was working for several French publications, had to leave in February 2024.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), however, dismissed his allegations on Friday. “He is an OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) card holder and, under our regulations, requires approval to carry out journalistic assignments, “ Randhir Jaiswal, the spokesperson of the MEA, stated. “He has re-applied for renewal of 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”.

It is not clear if Séjourné had raised the issues of the Dougnac and Farcis during his phone call to Jaishankar.

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Published 21 June 2024, 21:56 IST

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