The work permit of French reporter Sébastien Farcis is still under consideration, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.

Farcis said on Thursday that he had been forced to leave the country by the Indian government after working in the country for 13 years as his journalism permit had not been 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,” Farcis had said.

On Friday, Randhir Jaiswal, the external affairs ministry spokesperson, said that Farcis has an Overseas Citizenship of India status. “If you are an OCI [Overseas Citizenship of India] cardholder, you need a work permit to carry on your journalistic activities,” Jaiswal said at a media briefing.

Farcis applied for the renewal of his work permit in May, Jaiswal said. “His application is still under consideration,” he said.

The spokesperson added: “The question of his [Farcis] leaving the country, that is a decision that he has to make.”

On Thursday, Farcis said that the Ministry of Home Affairs had provided no reason for denying the renewal of his journalist permit in March. He added that he had tried to appeal against the decision also, but to no avail.

In a statement on social media platform 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.”

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 is married to an Indian.

He is the third foreign correspondent to leave India in recent 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 home ministry 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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