French journalist says leaving India after expulsion threat

The Home Ministry sent her a notice last month saying that her work was “inimical” to national interests and said it had provisionally decided to cancel her permanent residency

February 16, 2024 06:44 pm | Updated 06:45 pm IST - New Delhi

Vanessa Dougnac. File photo: X/@RSF_inter

Vanessa Dougnac. File photo: X/@RSF_inter

A French journalist said on February 16 she was leaving India, where she had worked for more than two decades, after authorities threatened her expulsion for what they termed "malicious and critical" reporting.

Vanessa Dougnac, a contributor to several French-language publications including the weekly magazine Le Point, had worked in India for 23 years.

The Home Ministry sent her a notice last month saying that her work was "inimical" to national interests and said it had provisionally decided to cancel her permanent residency.

"Leaving is not my choice," Ms. Dougnac said in a statement announcing her departure.

"I am unable to work and have been unfairly accused of prejudicing the interests of the state. It has become clear that I cannot keep living in India."

Ms. Dougnac had reported on a number of flashpoint topics, including the Maoist Naxalite insurgency in parts of rural India.

The Home Ministry notice accused her of journalism that was "malicious and critical in manner" that created a "biased perception about India".

She denied "all the allegations and imputations" made against her in the notice when it became public last month.

The notice was issued to her a week before the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron, who was guest of honour at India's annual Republic Day military parade.

Ministry of External Affairs told reporters during Mr Macron's visit that Ms. Dougnac's case had been raised by France before and during the visit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been accused of stifling independent media, with India falling 21 places to 161 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index since he took office in 2014.

Indian offices of the BBC were raided by the tax department last year, weeks after the British broadcaster was hit with a barrage of government criticism for airing a documentary questioning Modi's role in 2002 Gujarat riots.

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

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.