French reporter Sébastien Farcis on Thursday said that he has been forced to leave India by the Indian government after working in the country for 13 years as his journalism permit was not renewed.

“On 17th June, 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, Libération and the Swiss and Belgian public radios,” he said on Thursday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs provided no reason for denying the renewal of his journalist permit on March 7, Farcis said. He added that he has tried to appeal against the decision also, but to no avail.

Farcis is the third foreign correspondent to leave India in recent months.

The journalist is married to an Indian woman and holds Overseas Citizenship of India status.

In a statement on X, Farcis added that the development came as a “big shock” since the government had earlier allowed him to report from border areas as well.

“It was communicated to me on the eve of the Indian general elections, the largest democratic elections in the world, which I was hence forbidden to cover,” he said. “This appeared to me as an incomprehensible censorship.”

In a podcast with Radio France, Farcis said that he had not been warned about any such impending action. “My work and life over the past 13 years were stopped with a simple one-line e-mail,” he said.

The journalist said that the decision came from the home ministry and added that external affairs ministry officials told him that they were “stunned” to know about the development.

Farcis said that freedom of expression was increasingly being endangered in India. “In the past ten years, and especially so in the past five years, the authoritarian turn [in India] has become clearer and clearer,” he said in the podcast. “The journalists who do not fall in line are fired or pushed aside not only journalists, but also researchers and human rights workers.”

Apart from Farcis, two other foreign journalists have also been forced to leave India in the past few months because the government either threatened to withdraw or refused to extend permissions.

On April 19, Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s South Asia bureau chief Avani Dias left India weeks after being told by the Indian government that her visa would not be extended due to her reporting on a Sikh separatist’s killing. Dias was told that her “election accreditation would not come through because of an Indian Ministry directive”.

In February, another French journalist, Vanessa Dougnac, was forced to leave the country after the Ministry of Home Affairs asked her to explain why her Overseas Citizen of India card should not be withdrawn.

On January 18, the Foreigners Registration Office under the ministry issued a notice to Dougnac, alleging that her “malicious” work had created a “biased negative perception” of the country.

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