Centre issues notice to French journalist over ‘malicious reporting’, visa violations

Vanessa Dougnac, who faces the prospect of OCI card cancellation, says she never indulged in acts prejudicial to Indian interests

Published - January 23, 2024 10:13 pm IST - NEW DELHI

French journalist Vanessa Dougnac came to India on a journalist visa but subsequently got the OCI card. Image for representation. Photo: ociservices.gov.in

French journalist Vanessa Dougnac came to India on a journalist visa but subsequently got the OCI card. Image for representation. Photo: ociservices.gov.in

Citing “malicious reportage” and visa violations, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has served a notice on a French journalist seeking an explanation why the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card allotted to her should not be cancelled. 

The development comes days before the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron who is the chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year.

The journalist, Vanessa Dougnac, a French national, is married to an Indian and has been living in India for 22 years. She writes for French publications such as Le Point and La Croix

A government source said the journalist has been on the radar for several instances of visa violations for the past one-and-a-half years.

The French Embassy had raised the issue earlier with Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The French government had also raised the matter during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Paris in July 2023, it is learnt.

The notice served by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) alleged that Ms. Dougnac’s reports created a “biased negative perception about India”.

The source said the system picked up several visa violations and then investigated her past record. She came to India on a journalist visa but subsequently got the OCI card. The visa violations include travels to Ladakh and Nepal (from India) through different border points. Foreign journalists are not allowed to undertake such trips without special permits.

The source also added that she covered Naxal-hit areas in 2008 and did negative stories on atrocities against Christians. Further, she did a series of reports on South Asia — Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan etc — from India.

The notice was sent to her on January 19 and she has been asked to furnish a reply by February 2.

Denies allegations

Denying the allegations, Ms. Dougnac said in a statement on Tuesday, “I can confirm that I have received a notice from the concerned department of the Government of India, and that I deny all the allegations and imputations made therein against me and my conduct. India is my home, a country which I deeply love and respect, and I have never engaged in any acts that are in any manner prejudicial to Indian interests as is being alleged.”

She added that there is a legal process to deal with such matters with which she shall cooperate. “As the legal process is ongoing and the issues are pending consideration before the concerned authorities, I would request that the process is allowed to run its course and my privacy is respected during this time,” she said.

The MEA declined to comment. French Embassy officials did not respond to request for information. 

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.