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Why certain foreign journalists are barred from entering India

A list of journalists, activists denied entry by the Indian government over the last 10 years

Boom Live  October 24, 2015 Last Updated at 13:22 IST

Visa-denied

 

 

 

 

As part of Boom  Live’s Freedom of Expression series, they are creating a list of profiles — of journalists, activists and academicians who have been denied entry into India — for purportedly reporting on stories either critical of the country’s establishment or those that do not offer a flattering image of the country.

The year was 1990 and militancy in the state of Jammu & was at its peak. With the imposition of AFSPA (Armed Forces [Jammu and Kashmir] Special Powers Act), which was “deemed to have come into force” retrospectively from July 5, 1990, the Union government initiated a clampdown of foreign news media in the violence-ridden state.

were evicted almost over-night and a list made of all those who had reported on the war against militancy.

Here is an excerpt from the New York Times, dated February 18, 1990:

The Indian Government is barring foreign journalists from the Kashmir Valley, where a separatist movement has been growing for more than a year.

Foreign and Indian reporters were detained at hotels and then expelled from the Valley, the Muslim-dominated northern part of Jammu and Kashmir State, at the end of last month.

This week, officials told the executive committee of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of South Asia that while there was no stated ban on foreigners, only Indian citizens working for foreign organizations would now be allowed to report from the area.

Things have quieted down since the 1990s and instances of militancy are fewer each following year. But, much has happened in these years – mass killings, forced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual abuse to political repression and suppression of freedom of speech. The Indian media has taken sides and adverse reports against the Indian army rarely make it to the headlines. In the international media, news of the situation in has been restricted to instances of large-scale violence like the Kargil war in 1998.

Today, India is much-changed from the India of 1990. The poor-Indian has been replaced by the educated, aspirational middle-class Indian. This reflects in the news too. has graced the pages of Forbes magazine and so has Sonia Gandhi. Time magazine profiled Prime Minister just a few months back.

This change of reportage is much appreciated, but is it organic? Has the ‘poor-India’ replacement with ‘shining India’ come about due to independent journalistic-rigour or is there a state-hand behind it? This conspiracy-theory-like question stems from the fact that our editor-in-chief on a recent visit to Norway met not one but many journalists who vented their frustration at not being able to visit the country as they were denied a visa.

The Indian government, unlike its Chinese counterpart is democratically-elected and governed by the Constitution. It certainly cannot have a policy that demands positive news – and that too from foreign journalists and activists.

However, there seems to be a system in place that has ensured foreign journalists, activists or academics adversely reporting about India are prevented from entering the country.

We have started a profile-roll of such individuals and welcome contributions. In reverse chronological order:

  1. Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso — denied visa in 2014

#Vaw #mustread" data-image-description="<div> <div>The tragic case of Pavitra, lab technician who committed suicide following inaction on her complaint of sexual harassment against the Principal, BR Ambedkar College of <a class="zem_slink" title="Delhi" href="http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=28.61,77.23&spn=0.1,0.1&q=28.61,77.23 (Delhi)&t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">Delhi</a> Univ.</div> <div></div> <div><b>The DUTA and DUCKA are holding a demonstration tomorrow (10 Oct) at 10 am at Police HQs, ITO demanding justice for Pavitra and police action against the Principal. It would be great if women’s groups could also join the demo.</b></div> <div> Pavitra’s is by far not the only case where justice is being denied in <a class="zem_slink" title="Durham University" href="http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=54.773,-1.574&spn=1.0,1.0&q=54.773,-1.574 (Durham%20University)&t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">DU</a> in a sexual harassment case. In another case, an employee has filed a sexual harassment complaint against the Principal, <a class="zem_slink" title="Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College" href="http://www.arsdcollege.net/" target="_blank" rel="homepage">ARSD College</a>, and in this case too, the police are delaying filing a chargesheet, and the University has failed to take any action whatsoever to initiate the proper procedure in a sexual harassment complaint, despite repeated notices from the Delhi Commission of Women to the DU VC.</div> <div></div> <p><b>Do join the demo  oct 10th – 10 am, ITO, gather at car park near Ferozeshah Kotla and march towards Police HQ. No organisational banners, placards please, as requested by DUTA. </b></div> <div></div> <div>For any further details, contact Nandita Narain, President DUTA, 9810261909.</div> <p><img alt="Pavitra Bhardwaj was taken to the LNJP hospital with 92 per cent burn injuries" src="http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/10/07/article-2449166-189643B100000578-202_306x472.jpg" /></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Exactly a week after she set herself on fire in front of the Delhi secretariat, a former DU lab assistant passed away at the LNJP hospital on Monday morning.</p> <p>Pavitra Bhardwaj, 40, was upset after her complaint of sexual harassment against the principal and a lab technician of <a class="zem_slink" title="B. R. Ambedkar" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._R._Ambedkar" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">B. R. Ambedkar</a> College reportedly went unheard.</p> <p>The victim was admitted to the hospital with 92 per cent burn injuries after she immolated herself on September 30 outside Gate 6 of the Delhi secretariat.</p> <p>The victim, who used to live with her husband and children in Nandnagri area, had written letters to various authorities, including those of the <a class="zem_slink" title="National Commission for Women" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_for_Women" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">National Commission for Women</a>, seeking the redressal of her grievances.</p> <p>Pavitra became upset after no action was taken against the duo and she was forced to take this extreme step, her husband claimed.</p> <p>“We want justice. She wrote so many letters to the DU and the <a class="zem_slink" title="Chief Minister of Delhi" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Minister_of_Delhi" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Delhi chief minister</a> but without any result. My wife’s statement was recorded before the SDM on October 1. It seems as if the principal, G.K. Arora, is above the law. Police has taken no action yet,” a teary eyed Dharmendra, Pavitra’s husband, said.</p> <p>Arora, on his part, refutes all allegations and says he is being framed.</p> <p>“All these allegations are false. People are trying to implicate me,” he said.</p> <p>While the police had registered a case of suicide against Pavitra, no formal action has been taken against the principal despite repeated demands from the family.</p> <p>“A case of suicide was registered against Pavitra after she took the extreme step. So far, we have no proof to take any action against the principal,” a police officer said.</p> <p>Pavitra had registered the first complaint of sexual harassment against Arora at the Jyoti Nagar police station in 2009. However, no case was registered as her charges could not be proved. She had then approached the college administration. A two-member panel, constituted to look into the allegations, had also given a clean chit to Arora.</p> <div></div> <div><img alt="Teachers held a protest at Ambedkar College in east Delhi" src="http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/10/07/article-2449166-1896439C00000578-927_634x349.jpg" width="634" height="349" />Teachers held a protest at Ambedkar College in east Delhi</p> </div> <p> </p> <p>Things turned worst last year when Pavitra was dismissed by the principal without the consent of the college governing body. Meanwhile, the college administration has called a Governing Body meet on Friday to look into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Arora.</p> <p><a class="zem_slink" title="University of Delhi" href="http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=28.5843472222,77.16295&spn=0.01,0.01&q=28.5843472222,77.16295 (University%20of%20Delhi)&t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">Delhi University</a> has also demanded a report from the Governing Body of the college about the incident.</p> <p>“Though the matter is within the purview of the college, the University has sought a reply in this matter,” DU Registrar Alka Sharma said.</p> <p>On the political front, main Opposition BJP criticised the Delhi government for not implementing any effective mechanism for the redressal of sexual harassment cases.</p> <p>While BJP national secretary <a class="zem_slink" title="Arti Mehra" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arti_Mehra" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Arti Mehra</a> regretted that no representative from the Delhi government had met the victim’s family, Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel pointed out that the Nirbhaya Fund is yet to become functional.</p> <p>Read more: <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2449166/DU-lab-assistant-dies-hospital-week-setting-unresolved-sexual-harassment-case.html#ixzz2hDGBeBQp">http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2449166/DU-lab-assistant-dies-hospital-week-setting-unresolved-sexual-harassment-case.html#ixzz2hDGBeBQp</a></p> <div class="zemanta-pixie" style="margin-top: 10px; height: 15px;"><a class="zemanta-pixie-a" title="Enhanced by Zemanta" href="http://www.zemanta.com/?px"><img class="zemanta-pixie-img" style="border: none; float: right;" alt="Enhanced by Zemanta" src="http://img.zemanta.com/zemified_h.png?x-id=89bdb875-4138-4067-966a-1326b807b502" /></a></div> " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="size-full wp-image-26962 alignleft" src="http://www.boomlive.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/MARY-AILEEN-DIEZ-BACALSO.jpg" alt="MARY-AILEEN-DIEZ-BACALSO" width="600" height="303" />

 

Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso, 51, is the Secretary General of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD) — a coalition of over 11 human rights groups. She was denied entry into India and deported from Mumbai airport in 2014, soon after her arrival from Philippines.

Mary has worked for International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. She has worked closely with Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in Kashmir, a member of AFAD, during which she raised the issue of disappearance of Kashmiri men, allegedly after being picked up by security forces.

She has also been vocal regarding the presence of “mass graves” in the Kashmir Valley, which was established by the state human rights commission.

  1. Gautam Navlakha — denied entry into Srinagar in 2011

 

Gautam Navlakha

 

His is a case of an Indian being denied entry one from part of India into another part.

Gautam Navlakha, Editorial Consultant, Economic and Political Weekly, was stopped at Srinagar airport on his arrival from New Delhi, and told to go back. Navlakha, is also the Convenor of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK). He was detained under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Navlakha is a noted public intellectual and peace activist. His denial of entry into Jammu & Kashmir underline the concerns of the status of freedom of speech and movement in Kashmir.

  1. Sabrina Buckwalter — asked to leave India in 2011

 

Sabrina Buckwalter

 

The rape and murder case, 2006; where four members of a dalit-family were brutally murdered and the women (mother and daughter) were allegedly raped before being killed happened before the 24×7 news culture had taken over our country. The fact that it occurred in rural Maharashtra, in a village almost 800-kms away from Mumbai meant that it received scant attention. However, one of the few journalists who reported on this case was Sabrina Buckwalter. Buckwalter chronicled the incident in a long article for the Times of India, in October 2006, a month after it had occurred.

Buckwalter was ejected from the country in 2007. Since then her visa application has been rejected multiple times. She had managed to get a short-stay visa in 2011 but was then asked to go back just a few days into her visit.

  1. Professor Richard Shapiro — denied entry in 2010

 

Richard Shapiro

 

Professor Shapiro was denied entry by the Immigration Authorities in New Delhi.

Richard Shapiro is the Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco.

News reports suggest that the government decided to take action against Shapiro, who held a tourist visa, because of his partner Angana Chatterji’s involvement with the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and her association with the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society (JKCCS).

Chatterji was travelling with Shapiro when he was denied entry. Chatterji and the tribunal had come up with an extensive report on mass graves in Kashmir, saying “2,900 unidentified persons were buried in these graves after being killed by security forces”.

 

  1. Ulrika Nandra & Marina Malmgren — visa rejected in 2008

#WTFnews" data-image-description="<div> <h1>124 dalit plaints, only 1 conviction: <a class="zem_slink" title="Non-governmental organization" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-governmental_organization" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">NGO</a></h1> <p><a href="http://www.kractivist.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Dalit-women.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-20556" alt="Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail" src="http://www.kractivist.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Dalit-women-300x180.jpg" width="300" height="180" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div> <p>By <a class="zem_slink" title="Express News (Pakistan)" href="http://www.expressnews.tv" target="_blank" rel="homepage">Express News</a> Service – MADURAI</p> <p>Published: 09th October 2013 07:45 AM</p> </div> <div> <div> <p>It took a lot of courage for 124 <a class="zem_slink" title="Dalit" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Dalit</a> women to shed off inhibition and come forward to file police complaints against Caste Hindus for inflicting <a class="zem_slink" title="Caste" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">caste</a>-based atrocities, including <a class="zem_slink" title="Sexual abuse" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abuse" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">sexual abuse</a> and rape. Yet, only one case has ended in conviction, reveals a survey conducted by Evidence, a <a class="zem_slink" title="Madurai" href="http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=9.919662,78.119393&spn=0.1,0.1&q=9.919662,78.119393 (Madurai)&t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">Madurai</a>-based NGO.</p> <p>The survey collected samples of criminal cases filed by the Dalit women across 22 districts in the state, between January 2009 and August 2013. “Analysis revealed that a case filed by one Anitha at <a class="zem_slink" title="Pollachi" href="http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=10.67,77.02&spn=0.1,0.1&q=10.67,77.02 (Pollachi)&t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">Pollachi</a> in June 2011 against a Caste Hindu for making sexual advances under the pretext of marriage, has ended up in conviction,” said A <a class="zem_slink" title="Kathir" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathir" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Kathir</a>, <a class="zem_slink" title="Executive director" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_director" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Executive Director</a> of Evidence.</p> <p>Of the total complaints, FIR was registered in 112 cases, 57 cases are pending in court, 48 are pending for the completion of investigation with police and 11 were dismissed. Out of the 124 cases of atrocities against women including abuse using derogative caste remarks, sexual remarks, sexual nagging, caste and <a class="zem_slink" title="Erotic sexual denial" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotic_sexual_denial" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">sexual teasing</a>, physical assault, forced sexual assault, attempt to rape and rape; the accused were arrested in 74 cases and 40 women have received compensation, said Kathir.</p> <p>more here- <a href="http://newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/124-dalit-plaints-only-1-conviction-NGO/2013/10/09/article1826481.ece">http://newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/124-dalit-plaints-only-1-conviction-NGO/2013/10/09/article1826481.ece</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <h6 class="zemanta-related-title" style="font-size: 1em;">Related articles</h6> <ul class="zemanta-article-ul zemanta-article-ul-image" style="margin: 0; padding: 0; overflow: hidden;"> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li-image zemanta-article-ul-li" style="padding: 0; background: none; list-style: none; display: block; float: left; vertical-align: top; text-align: left; width: 84px; font-size: 11px; margin: 2px 10px 10px 2px;"><a style="box-shadow: 0px 0px 4px #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-16-year-old-dalit-girl-gangraped-wants-to-become-a-police-officer-vaw-mustread/" target="_blank"><img style="padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;" alt="" src="http://i.zemanta.com/208853610_80_80.jpg" /></a><a style="display: block; overflow: hidden; text-decoration: none; line-height: 12pt; height: 80px; padding: 5px 2px 0 2px;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-16-year-old-dalit-girl-gangraped-wants-to-become-a-police-officer-vaw-mustread/" target="_blank">#India- 16 year old Dalit Girl gangraped wants to become a Police Officer #Vaw #mustread</a></li> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li-image zemanta-article-ul-li" style="padding: 0; background: none; list-style: none; display: block; float: left; vertical-align: top; text-align: left; width: 84px; font-size: 11px; margin: 2px 10px 10px 2px;"><a style="box-shadow: 0px 0px 4px #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-dalit-woman-stripped-and-paraded-by-6-in-patna-vaw-wtfnews/" target="_blank"><img style="padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;" alt="" src="http://i.zemanta.com/206115634_80_80.jpg" /></a><a style="display: block; overflow: hidden; text-decoration: none; line-height: 12pt; height: 80px; padding: 5px 2px 0 2px;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-dalit-woman-stripped-and-paraded-by-6-in-patna-vaw-wtfnews/" target="_blank">#India – Dalit woman stripped and paraded by 6 in Patna #Vaw #WTFnews</a></li> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li-image zemanta-article-ul-li" style="padding: 0; background: none; list-style: none; display: block; float: left; vertical-align: top; text-align: left; width: 84px; font-size: 11px; margin: 2px 10px 10px 2px;"><a style="box-shadow: 0px 0px 4px #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-state-expects-dead-dalit-girl-to-prove-she-was-violated-and-killed-vaw-wtfnews/" target="_blank"><img style="padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;" alt="" src="http://i.zemanta.com/198179329_80_80.jpg" /></a><a style="display: block; overflow: hidden; text-decoration: none; line-height: 12pt; height: 80px; padding: 5px 2px 0 2px;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-state-expects-dead-dalit-girl-to-prove-she-was-violated-and-killed-vaw-wtfnews/" target="_blank">#India – State expects dead Dalit girl to prove she was violated and killed? 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Freelance journalist Ulrika Nandra and foreign correspondent of Swedish daily Göteborgs-Posten, Marina Malmgren, are journalists based in Sweden whose visa applications were rejected by Indian authorities. In both cases, the rejections appear to be linked to articles they wrote about social problems in India, according to Swedish radio programme, The Media.

According to Reporters Without Borders, Ulrika Nandra’s problems began in autumn 2007 when she was to make a second visit to India as a freelance journalist. She submitted a visa application in September that year, but more than one year later she did not receive a response. Representatives of the media for which Nandra worked, state-run ‘Sveriges Television’ and daily newspaper ‘Svenska Dagbladet’, held a meeting with the Indian embassy in February 2008 in which the embassy said they were displeased with her reports, including one about sex trafficking in Mumbai and a series of articles about changing gender roles in India.

Reliable sources have told Nandra, who is half-Indian that it is uncertain that she will ever be able to return to the country, even on a tourist visa.

Other Indian embassies around the world have also rejected visa applications from journalists, said Vincent Brossel, head of the Asia desk at Reporters Without Borders’ head office in Paris.

 

  1. Hasnain Kazim — visa rejected in 2009

 

Hasnain kazim_Spiegel

 

Employed by Der Spiegel Online since February 2006, Kazim wanted to move to New Delhi in May 2009 to set up the publication’s South Asia desk. He had visited India in November 2008 to cover the Mumbai terror attacks, writing several articles that won him a nomination for the CNN Journalists Award 2009.

The press visa application that Kazim submitted in April of the same year, to the Indian consulate in Hamburg was immediately passed to New Delhi. Indian diplomats subsequently accused him of “hostile” coverage. They also said his reporting from Mumbai had been “illegal”.

An Indian official, contacted by IANS, said as per his information the journalist had come on a tourist visa to Mumbai in 2008 and had stayed on to report from there, an action that was construed as “serious violation” of visa rules in force internationally.

 

  1. Viviane Dalles – visa rejected in 2008

Viviane Dalles

 

French photojournalist Viviane Dalles came to Tamil Nadu following the tsunami in early 2005. Recognizing the potential of documentary photography, after two years she decided to stay on in the country and applied for a journalist’s visa. She was granted a one-year journalist visa. She did stories for the French papers ‘Le Monde’ and ‘Le Figaro’ and worked on stories about Tibetan refugees and the Dharavi slum in Mumbai, among other projects.

In July 2008, Dalles was refused entry back into the country after a month-long holiday in France (her journalist visa hadn’t expired at this time). Before her holiday, she had made a trip to the north of Assam to document the activities of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. When she arrived at Delhi airport, Dalles was asked to buy a ticket back to Paris. She has been unable to return to India since.

 

  1. Tom Heinemann & Lotte la Cour — visa rejected in 2006

Tom heinemann

 

Heinemann and La Cour are makers of the 2005 documentary film, A Killer Bargain. The film showed how Danish and Swedish multinational pesticide and textile companies grossly violated the labor and environmental laws of India.

The film had an impact, especially in Scandinavia. A large Danish pesticide company, which had sold extremely dangerous chemicals to poor Indian cotton farmers, stopped producing and selling those hazardous products that long had been banned in our part of the world. Large Swedish and Danish textile manufacturers got a huge wakeup call. Several of them changed their policies and now do much more to investigate and exert control on their supply chain.

In a letter published online, the husband and wife duo have owned up to deliberately violating the immigration laws of India. They say, “We broke the law by producing a documentary film even though we had entered the country on a tourist visa. We broke the law because we wanted to show that Scandinavian companies were in violation of many other laws in India.”

Ever since then they have been unable to get either a journalist or tourist visa.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/why-certain-foreign-journalists-are-barred-from-entering-india-115102400386_1.html

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