MEA refutes French journalist's claim, says he opted to leave despite work permit being under review

The MEA's response comes a day after the French journalist claimed that he was "forced to leave" India after 13 years following the Home Ministry's refusal to renew his work permit.
French journalist Sebastien Farcis  left India earlier this week, having been informed in March that his routine journalist permit extension was denied.
French journalist Sebastien Farcis left India earlier this week, having been informed in March that his routine journalist permit extension was denied.Photo| X @sebfarcis

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday refuted the assertions made by French journalist Sebastien Farcis, who claimed that he had been "forced to leave" India a few days ago.

MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said Farcis' application for 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. 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," Jaiswal said.

The MEA's response comes a day after the French journalist claimed that he was "forced to leave" India after 13 years following the Home Ministry's refusal to renew his work 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," Farcis posted a statement via X on Thursday.

"Three months ago, in March, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) denied the renewal of my journalistic permit. No reason was provided. I have never worked in restricted areas without a permit. On several occasions, MHA granted me a permit to report from border areas," he wrote.

Farcis was the South Asia correspondent for Radio France Internationale, Radio France, Liberation and the Swiss and Belgian public radios. He is also married to an Indian and has OCI status.

The French journalist also said that he has applied for a new work permit and will return once it is granted. "I have applied for a new work permit and hope it will be accepted," he added in his statement.

However, sources point out that Farcis did go to places where he needed a permit for travel, which included places like Lahaul, Spiti and Leh.

"Nowhere in the world can laws (which include taking a permit for areas where it is needed) be flouted. So when people come to work in India, these rules should be respected and followed,’’ said a source, adding that this could be one of the reasons for the rejection of Farcis' work permit.

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