Ambika Soni

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Ambika Soni
Ambika Soni.jpg
Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) for
Assumed office
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
Government of India
In office
22 May 2009 – 27 October 2012
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byPriya Ranjan Dasmunsi
Succeeded byManish Tewari
Minister of Tourism and Culture
In office
29 January 2006 – 22 May 2009
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byRenuka Chowdhury
Succeeded byKumari Selja
President of
All India Mahila Congress
In office
PresidentSonia Gandhi
President of
Indian Youth Congress
In office
General Secretary of
All India Congress Committee
Assumed office
PresidentSonia Gandhi
Member of
Congress Working Committee
Assumed office
Personal details
Born (1942-11-13) 13 November 1942 (age 76)
Lahore, Punjab Province, British India (now in Pakistan)
Political partyIndian National Congress
Spouse(s)Uday C. Soni
ResidenceNew Delhi

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[edit]

Born in Lahore in undivided Punjab to Nakul Sen Whadwa, an Indian Civil Service officer and Lt. Governor of Goa and Indu, in 1942.[1] 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.

Political career[edit]

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 Jawaharlal Nehru.[2] In 1975 she was elected president of the Indian Youth Congress and worked closely with Sanjay Gandhi.[3] 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 January 2000 she was again elected to Rajya Sabha and resigned on 10 June 2004. In July 2004 she was again elected to Rajya Sabha. From 29 January 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.[4] In July 2010 she was re-elected to Rajya Sabha.[citation needed]

Freedom of Press and Internet[edit]

At the International Colloquium on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights organized by the Press Council of India on 28 April 2011, she claimed that "Our media is probably the freest in the world."[5] 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".[6] 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".[7] There are also serious concerns about regulators putting a tight leash on Internet Free Speech.[8]


  1. ^ Chadha, Kumkum (11 December 2009). "An affair to remember".
  2. ^ Vohra, Pankaj (29 May 2009). "By invitation only- Interview with Ambika Soni". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  3. ^ Chadha, Kumkum (11 December 2009). "An affair to remember". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^ India has world's 'freest' media: Soni, Hindustan Times – 28 April 2011 Archived 21 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2017-05-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^
  8. ^ Bajaj, Vikas (27 April 2011). "India Puts Tight Leash on Internet Free Speech". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2018.

External links[edit]