India - No visa for German journalist who wants to base himself in New Delhi



    MONTREAL, Sept. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders urges the
Indian government to issue a press visa to Hasnain Kazim, a German journalist
of Indian origin, so that he can base himself in India as the German weekly
Der Spiegel's correspondent. Indian diplomats have acknowledged verbally to
German officials that the failure to approve the visa request he made five
months ago is linked to the fact that his articles are regarded as "overly
critical and biased."
    "We are dismayed to learn that the Indian authorities have again refused
to issue a press visa to a journalist employed by a respected news
organisation," Reporters Without Borders said. "Excuses have been made about
the time needed to process an application but the reality is that the Indian
government has not liked some of this experienced journalist's reports and
wants to prevent him from returning to India."
    The press freedom organisation added: "There is an urgent need for the
government to scrap this archaic practice of banning certain foreign
journalists from visiting the country. Dozens of journalists have encountered
this problem of late."
    Employed by Spiegel Online since February 2006, Kazim wanted to move to
New Delhi in May in order to set up there as the South Asia correspondent of
both Spiegel Online and Der Spiegel. He previously visited India in November
to cover the Mumbai terrorist attacks, writing several articles
(http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,593647,00.html) that won him a
nomination for the CNN Journalists Award 2009.
    The press visa application that he submitted on 7 April to the Indian
consulate in Hamburg was immediately passed to the New Delhi. Indian diplomats
subsequently accused him of "hostile" coverage. They also said his reporting
from Mumbai had been "illegal". He has still not received a response to the
application.
    Spiegel Online editor Mathias Muller von Blumencron, who has met with the
Indian ambassador to Berlin to discuss the case, told Reporters Without
Borders: "The irony is that Hasnain Kazim's family had to fight to be accepted
in Germany and now he is being rejected by his country of origin. We find this
very sad. He is one of our most brilliant online reporters and we still do not
understand why the Indian government is refusing to give him a visa."
    The personal belongings of Kazim and his family were searched by Indian
customs and retained for three months before being sent back to Germany.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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