Last Updated: June 02, 2023, 18:13 IST
Foreign journalists, including those from China, have been pursuing journalistic activities in India without any limitations, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday.
The statement comes in response to recent reports that the number of Chinese journalists in India was “about to drop to zero”, after both the countries expelled journalists from their respective countries.
“All foreign journalists, including Chinese journalists have been pursuing journalistic activities in India without any limitations or difficulties in reporting or doing media coverage,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters on Friday.
The MEA also said that Indian journalists in China have been operating with difficulties and not allowed to hire locals as correspondents.
“Indian journalists in China have been operating with certain difficulties, such as not being permitted to hire locals as correspondents or journalists. As you know, foreign media can and do freely hire local journalists to work for their bureaus in India,” Bagchi said.
Indian journalists also face several restrictions while getting access and travelling locally, he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, China accused India of “unfair and discriminatory treatment” of Chinese journalists and threatened to take “appropriate countermeasures” against the country.
The allegation came in the wake of a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that claimed China and India have “effectively kicked out” a large number of each other’s journalists recently by denying visa renewals. The report said India has declined to renew visas this month for the only two remaining Chinese state media journalists in the country.
The report said that Indian media had four journalists stationed in China. However, according to a Chinese official, at least two of them have not been granted visas to re-enter the country. The third journalist was informed this month that his accreditation had been revoked.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it took the measures because “Chinese journalists have suffered unfair and discriminatory treatment in India.”
Responding to the report, Bagchi said, “We hope that Chinese authorities facilitate the continued presence of Indian journalists working and reporting from China. The two sides continue to remain in touch regarding this issue.”
Earlier in April, a media report said that China had frozen the visas of two Indian journalists. In response, the Ministry of External Affairs had said India hoped that the Chinese facilitate the continued presence of Indian journalists in Beijing.
China has demanded that India stop issuing three-month visas for its reporters and approve year-long visas for at least half a dozen Chinese reporters.
The Ministry of Home Affairs started reducing the period of visas to 3 months after red flagging what it saw as non-journalistic activities of some Chinese State media reporters in India, according to The Hindu.
(With Inputs from Shailendra Wangu)