A new job and marriage lured Avani Dias back to Australia, not intimidation by Indian government

"Whatever little interaction I had with Avani, she lacked the depth to be reporting in a complex country like India."

Avani Dias, an inexperienced Sri Lankan-Australian journalist working as a foreign correspondent for the taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), has returned, driven by a new professional opportunity and personal milestone, rather than any alleged intimidation by the Indian government.

New Job

Here are the reasons why we understand that acceptance of a new job in (June 2023) and her marriage (December 2023) influenced Avani Dias’ decision to return to Australia, rather than any political pressures.

ABC News advertised a position for a Reporter with its flagship program ‘Four Corners’ on 1 May 2023 the closing date for applications was 21 May 2023.

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Just one and a half years (Half term) into her job as South Asia Correspondent in New Delhi, tired and troubled with her responsibilities Avani Dias applied for this position with Four Corners.

Within 10 days, On 30-31 May 2023 (depending on where you live) She received an email for an interview.

Two people in the know-how of the appointment process told The Australia Today that luckily Four Corners bosses were so impressed with her Twitter fights with “Indian right-wing” that they offered her a job. Avani Dias received her appointment email in the last week of June 2023, and she readily accepted it.

However, The Editor of International News with ABC told the Four Corners team that She could only release Avani Dias after making arrangements for a new correspondent in India.

Within three months a new digital and video journalist Meghna Bali was appointed as New Delhi correspondent of ABC on 28 September 2023 as a replacement for Avani Dias.

From October 2023 to January 2024 Avani Dias was mostly on leave for a few different personal reasons which we will explain now.

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Walking Down the Aisle

After securing the new job Avani Dias came to Sydney in consultation with family and her partner decided a date for her wedding.

Avani walked the aisle in a traditional Sri Lankan wedding ceremony in the first week of December 2023.

In an Instagram post on 3rd December 2023, She wrote, “We were so moved during the traditional Sri Lankan ceremony, as we said our vows to each other, and while we listened to the speeches.”

“The hugest thank you to everyone for making it happen like our parents, Seth for being #1 wrangler, my aunties, uncles and cousins for all the work they did, and our friend crews for bringing the best vibes in the lead-up. LOVE YOU ALL.”

Seems like Maldives is still a favourite place for most South Asians for a Honeymoon, so Avani and her partner spent the first half of January 2024 there before joining the festivities for the opening of Shri Ram’s birthplace Temple in Ayodhya.


The Indian Australian diaspora criticised her reporting on Ayodhya for factual inaccuracies. She was schooled on social media but Avani Dias refused to understand what she was doing wrong.

A person with information in the International News department of ABC told The Australia Today that the Editor of International News had a confidential report from the ABC India team that Avani Dias had burnt bridges and made the relationship with most stakeholders toxic.

The Visa Saga

Avani Dias had a J1 Visa for foreign journalists since she joined the South Asia Bureau in New Delhi in January 2022. She was provided the first extension by the Indian government in 2023 despite her questionable reporting and theatrics after being called out.

Two people within the Indian External Affairs department (who do not want to be named) one in India and another in Australia have confirmed to The Australia Today that Avani Dias paid the visa fee on 18th April and her visa was extended on the same day till the end of June.

After her visa was granted Avani’s supervisor asked her to stay back to cover the Indian parliament election but left the decision for her to make and Avani decided to come back.

However, an important fact to be noted is Avani booked her return flights to Sydney on 12 April 2024 six days before depositing the visa fee.

The Meltdown

Avani posted on social media claiming she had to leave India abruptly. She also claims that the Modi government told her that her visa extension would be denied.

The Indian official based in Delhi categorically denied that any MEA official had called Avani Dias and told her that She had crossed the line.

“We don’t make phone calls to visa applicants with no exceptions.”

‘It looks as if Ms Dias planned the whole controversy to boost her journalistic career, but she should know these games don’t pay in the long run,”

added the official.

She took three sweet days to schedule interviews with multiple media outlets about her exit from India and even lobbied foreign correspondents in India to issue a statement in her support.

One of the foreign correspondents working in India told The Australia Today that “whatever little interaction I had with Avani, she lacked the depth to be reporting in a complex country like India.”

“I would like a more streamlined and timely visa extension process but reporters need to understand that visa is a privilege, not a right.”

Before joining as South Asia Correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Dias, was a presenter of the current affairs program “Hack” on Triple J with no political, parliamentary or international affairs reporting experience.

As Avani Dias transits back to Australia, this move underscores the ongoing dialogue about the role of journalists in navigating both their professional responsibilities and personal lives amidst the broader political and social contexts they report on.

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