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Press Credentials - Outside your home country

What follows is some general advice on obtaining and using press credentials outside your own country. Remember that each country has different requirements. Some require no accreditation at all, while others try to make sure reporters are accompanied by information ministry officials nearly all the time. These are only general guidelines.

An assignment letter or letter of introduction is essential. It should be on company letterhead, signed by a senior editor or producer in the news organization, dated recently — and be as specific as possible about the nature of your assignment. Lesser-known publications, agencies or Web sites might be wise to include some background to convince officials of the legitimacy of the news organization. Try to have several signed originals of the letter, since most officials do not like to receive copies and it may be required at numerous offices. If possible, address the letter to the specific department or official handling press credentials, but ato whom it may concern letter is usually acceptable. If your news organization has an official stamp or seal, use it on the letter; in some countries it can make a difference.

It helps to have an official identification card or press card issued by your news organization.

Press credentials from your local police department or some other organization are also helpful. Government agencies will often respect the official documents of other agencies. Make your intentions known and begin your research as far in advance as possible. Write or visit the local embassy of the country or countries you plan to visit. Even a business card from the ambassador can open some doors for you. Dont neglect the government press office in the foreign capital. Seek advice from the U.S. embassy press officer in the country. Talk to a journalist working in the country, or someone who has recently been there. Inquire at the local press association, journalists union or foreign correspondents association; sometimes those groups handle accreditation rather than the government.

In some cases, officials will ask for evidence of financial support. This is especially true on a long-term assignment. A line in the letter saying that your news organization will pay all expenses is usually sufficient, but some countries go so far as to require resident foreign correspondents to maintain a local bank account.

Find out beforehand whether you will need a special visa as a journalist. You don’t want to be stuck at the airport or sent home on the next plane.

In countries where the government might place restrictions on foreign reporters, you need to weigh those limitations against the consequences of being caught without proper accreditation. In the end its a decision only you can make, but when dealing with the police, armed forces or other officials its almost always better to have official accreditation.

Carry plenty of passport-sized photographs. Some countries require multiple accreditation applications, and each will require at least two photos.

by [a former member] at 2005-06-18 00:46:55 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) New York , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

China accreditation info:

http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/xwfw/jzfw/3635/default.htm

by [former member] | 18 Jun 2005 08:06 | Mainland, China | | Report spam→
Nelson

Where are you based in China? There is a chance that I may go @ August 6 for one month it would be great to meet up.

Cheers,
Sheryl

by [former member] | 18 Jun 2005 12:06 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Hi Sheryl, yes it would be great to meet up if you make it out here! I sent you an email.

by [former member] | 19 Jun 2005 06:06 | Mainland, China | | Report spam→

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