India imposes restrictions on visiting UK journalists

India is the latest country to impose restrictions on travel for UK journalists, Press Gazette has learned.

A student from NoSweat journalism training in London discovered the new rule while attempting to gain a visa to visit the country for a wedding.

The move follows strict rules imposed by the USA post 9/11 on travel for journalists – which included the creation of a new journalistic visa.

Jeremy Hodges, who has just completed his journalistic training and gained a job as a reporter at Legal Week, said: ‘I put that I was a journalist on my application at the Indian High Commission and was told that I had to agree that I wouldn’t practise journalism while I was in the country.

‘The supervisor then said that I had to get my business, or in my case my course director, to write a letter to back this up.”

He added: ‘I felt like I’d done something wrong by writing down that I was a journalist. I don’t think I would do so again when travelling abroad. I don’t know what they are scared of.”

NoSweat course director Steve Ward said: ‘India is supposed to be the world’s largest democracy and press freedom goes to the heart of being a democracy.

‘I was in India some time ago and wrote a story that was published in one of their papers.”

A spokesman for the Indian High Commission in London confirmed that the visa rules have changed and that anyone wishing to practise journalism in India needs to apply for a separate visa. They would not reveal why this change has taken place.

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