"Reporting Crossing Line..": Journalist Forced To Leave India

Dias, who served as the South Asia bureau chief for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) since January 2022, departed from the country last week………

Australian journalist Avani Dias revealed on Tuesday that she had to abruptly depart from India after being informed by the government that her visa extension would be denied due to her reporting allegedly crossing a line.

Dias, who served as the South Asia bureau chief for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) since January 2022, departed from the country last week.

However, an unnamed Indian government official disputed Dias’s claim, stating that her departure was not due to visa issues but rather because she needed to meet a deadline for another job opportunity in Australia. The official clarified, “She left because she had to meet the timeline for another job offer in Australia. The reason for her leaving was not delay in issuance of visa but personal reasons.”


In a post on X, Dias explained, “After Australian Government intervention, I got a mere two-month extension…less than 24 hours before my flight.” She further stated, “We were also told my election accreditation would not come through because of an Indian Ministry directive. We left on day one of voting in the national election in what Modi calls ‘the mother of democracy’.”

This incident unfolded amidst the removal of Dias’s documentary on the killing of pro-Khalistan activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar from YouTube India. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks sparked a diplomatic row, suggesting a potential link between Indian government agents and Nijjar’s killing.

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On March 24, YouTube notified ABC of an order from India’s electronics and information technology ministry to block Dias’s documentary. ABC alleged that their journalists were interrogated in Punjab by the Criminal Intelligence Department and were prohibited from filming at the India-Pakistan border despite having approvals.

The Indian government official contended that the documentary, titled “Sikhs, Murder and Spies,” was shot without appropriate permissions and glorified terrorism. The official also accused Dias’s associates of obtaining visas based on misleading information.

Regarding Dias’s visa application, the official explained that she received an extension until the end of June but paid the renewal fees only on April 18, the day before her sudden departure. The official also mentioned that authority letters for access to polling booths and counting stations could not be processed during the visa extension period.

ABC managing director David Anderson expressed full support for Dias’s reporting and confirmed her transition to the “Four Corners” team as a reporter in the coming weeks.

Reflecting on the situation in her podcast “Looking for Modi,” Dias expressed shock and disappointment, stating, “This place my partner and I had called home for the last two-and-a-half years, this place that we loved so much, was not going to be home anymore. We were being forced to leave on the Indian government’s terms.”