|Minister of Information and Broadcasting|
May 2009 - 28 October 2012
|Prime Minister||Manmohan Singh|
|Preceded by||Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi|
|Succeeded by||Manish Tewari|
|Member of Rajya Sabha|
|Minister of Tourism and Culture|
|Succeeded by||Kumari Selja|
13 November 1942 |
Lahore, British India (now in Pakistan)
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
|Children||one son, Anup|
Ambika Soni (born 13 November 1942) is an Indian politician belonging to Indian National Congress. She had served as Minister of Information and Broadcasting. She is a Member of Parliament representing the state of Punjab in the Rajya Sabha.
Early life and education
Born in Lahore in undivided Punjab to Nakul Sen, an I.C.S officer and Lt. Governor of Goa and Indu Nakul Sen in 1942. Her family later converted to Christianity. Ambika studied at Welham Girls School,Dehradun and did her M.A. (Hons.) from Indraprastha College, Delhi University, followed by Diploma Superiore en Langue Francaise from Alliance Francaise, Bangkok and Post-Graduate Diploma in Spanish Art and Literature from University of Havana, Cuba. She got married in 1961 to Uday Soni, an Indian Foreign Service officer.
Ambika Soni began her political career in 1969 when she was co-opted into the Congress Party by Indira Gandhi at the time of the Party split in 1969. Soni was an old family friend of Gandhi from the time when her father was posted as District collector of Amritsar during the Partition of India and worked very closely with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1975 she was elected president of the Indian Youth Congress and worked closely with Sanjay Gandhi. In March 1976 she was elected to Rajya Sabha. In 1998 she became the president of All India Mahila Congress. From 1999- 2006 she was General Secretary of All India Congress Committee. In Jan. 2000 she was again elected to Rajya Sabha and resigned w.e.f. 10 June 2004. In July 2004 she was again elected to Rajya Sabha. From 29 Jan. 2006- 22 May 2009 she was Minister of Tourism and Minister of Culture in UPA I government. From 22 May 2009 - 27 October 2012 she was Minister of Information and Broadcasting in UPA II government. In July 2010 she was re-elected to Rajya Sabha.
Freedom of Press and Internet
At the International Colloquium on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights organized by the Press Council of India on April 28, 2011, she claimed that "Our media is probably the freest in the world." But the two "Press freedom rankings" speak the contrary. The World Press Freedom Index 2012 by the Reporters Without Borders group ranked India at 131 out of 179 which puts it in the category of "Noticeable problems". The Global press freedom rankings 2012 by Freedom House ranked India at 80 out of 197 which puts it in the category of "Partly Free". There are also serious concerns about regulators putting a tight leash on Internet Free Speech.
- Chadha, Kumkum (11 December 2009). "An affair to remember".
- "Sonia's right hand". Times of India. 18 March 2001. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Vohra, Pankaj (29 May 2009). "By invitation only- Interview with Ambika Soni". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Chadha, Kumkum (11 December 2009). "An affair to remember". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- India has world's 'freest' media: Soni, Hindustan Times – April 28, 2011
- India Puts Tight Leash on Internet Free Speech, The New York Times – April 27, 2011
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