India bans journalistic activities on tourist visa

New Delhi : India has banned journalistic activities by foreigners visiting the country on tourist visa. The order has been issued by the Home Ministry after noticing that foreigners coming on tourist visa are involved in coverage of events and other journalistic activities.

“Tourist visa is not the appropriate visa for journalistic activities by the foreigners. Tourist visa is issued to foreigners who do not have residence or occupation in India and whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends and relatives etc.”

“No other activity is permissible on tourist visa,” a Home Ministry official said today. The action came after the government found that Roger Bilham, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado, had been visiting India since 1967 multiple times on tourist visa and was engaged in journalistic activities.

Bilham had written 81 articles on Indian tectonics and on Indian nuclear projects and some scientists have alleged that Bilham’s views were “scare-mongering”. Bilham was detained at Indira Gandhi International airport here in May, 2012, and denied entry to India.

The Home Ministry has requested Ministry of External Affairs to convey the directive to all Indian Missions/Posts abroad. All state governments and authorities concerned in the country have also been requested to ensure strict compliance of the order, the official said. (पीटीआई)

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