A press pass can be an international card, which may be used around the world. But most countries also issue national cards. Traditionally, these are only available to journalists working for old media, such as newspapers, radio and television. In many instances, these cards are issued by trade-unions and linked to a union membership. Here’s an overview of how to obtain a press pass from 28 countries.
In Australia, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, issues press cards to its members. MEAA believes that self-regulation by journalists and media professionals is the best way to ensure those who practise our craft operate at the highest ethical and professional standards. As the union and industry advocate for Australia’s journalists, MEAA launched Freelance Pro so freelance journalist members of MEAA can demonstrate their high standards with a specialist banner under which they can work and market themselves.
Austria / Österreich
The trade union KMSfB, part of the union GdG-KMSfB, belongs to the Austrian trade union association (ÖGB) as one of eight unions. Union members (sections: electronic media, communication, publishing, film, photo, and audiovisual media) receive under certain circumstances an austrian press pass with additional special services.
In Belgium the profession of journalist is not legally recognised. Only the full-time journalist enjoys a recognised and protected statute. The statute is documented by means of a pass, which is issued by a joint commission, composed of publishers and journalists. Applications must be made directly to the commission responsible (Association Générale des Journalistes Professionnels de Belgique).
Czech Republic / Česká Republika
The Czech journalists’ association Syndikát novináru was founded in 1968 and is organised as a trade union. Membership fees are between 30 and 50 Euro per year and include services such as legal and taxation advice, use of the SN press centre n Prague and, in cooperation with the Slovakian journalists’ association, cheaper holiday possibilities. The SNCR does not issue its own press pass; members receive the International Press Card from the IFJ (30 Euro in addition), which is valid for two years.
Denmark / Danmark
The Danish Union of Journalists was founded on 1 January 1961 and has around 14,000 members. Members of the DJ receive the Press Card. The card serves as proof of journalistic activity and is issued to journalists in full-time employment or to freelance journalists, provided a minimum income can be demonstrated. Alternative: the association of Danish sports journalists (Danske Sportsjournalister) has existed since 1922 and has a high degree of acceptance in Denmark.
Germany / Deutschland
In Germany, over a dozen professional and industry associations issue press passes, but none of the associations has the exclusive right to issue press passes. This means that there is no generally valid or overriding press pass. In accordance with the applicable federal state press laws, no particular organisations have priority. Press associations that distribute press passes include (no guarantee of completeness): Deutscher Verband der Pressejournalisten, Verband deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger, German journalists association, ver.di/Journalists Union, Freelans/Association for press photographer, Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger, Verband deutscher Sportjournalisten, GNS Press
Estonia / Eesti Vabariik
The journalists’ association Eesti Ajakirjanike Liit (EAL) represents around 650 members in Estonia. The association is organised as a trade union (Journalist’s Union). Membership costs are 45 Euro per year or 0.7% of salary. The EAL does not issue its own press passes; members of the EAL receive the International Press Pass from the IFJ, which is valid for two years.
Finland / Suomen Tasavalta
The Finnish journalists’ union is a trade union and issues a press card (Pressikortti) to authorised members. The card is valid for two years; the date of validity is shown in the lower right-hand corner. The press card identifies the holder as an active journalist or press photographer or official editor. The initial issue of the press card is free of charge.
Journalists in France are represented by two trade unions: the General Union of Journalists (SGJ FO) and the Union syndicale des journalistes (SNJ). Prior to the initial issue of a press pass, evidence of full-time work for three consecutive months must be presented. The Commission de la carte d’identité des journalistes professionnels (CCIJP) is responsible for issuing the card. Journalists whose employer or client is a media company (no advertising company, etc.) are entitled to the pass. Online journalists must present additional proof of the manner and extent of their activities.
Greece / Ελληνική Δημοκρατία
The organised scene for journalists in Greece is strongly split. There is a large number of journalists’ and press associations, which are mostly organised as trade unions and, in some cases, have a long history. Some associations represent only very small interest groups or are only involved in regional events. There are no uniform conditions of acceptance. Only a little more than half of all journalists are organised in associations: Journalists’ Union of Macedonia, Union of Press Photographers, Journalists Union of Central Greece, Panhellenic Federation of Journalists, Owners Association of Local Press and many more. The leading associations are the Union of Periodical Press Journalists and the Journalists Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers.
Hungary / Magyarország
There are many different kinds of journalists’ organisations in Hungary: the association of Hungarian journalists (MÚOSZ) represents full-time professional journalists. The MÚOSZ strengthens the freedom of the press in Hungary and promoted the traditions of Hungarian publishing. These association has around 5,000 members, including renowned journalists and media personalities, and is a full member of the International Federation of Journalists. Alternatives: the union of Hungarian journalists (MÚK) is an independent association. The Protestant Federation of Journalists is open to Protestant journalists. Furthermore there is the press organisation of Hungarian Catholic journalists and the association of Hungarian journalists in Romania.
The National Union of Journalists is the trade union of British and Irish journalists. As well as journalists in the narrowest sense of the word it is open to all persons who are primarily active in journalism. The NUJ issues the National Press Card for the United Kingdom and an Irish Press Card for Ireland. In Ireland the Irish Press Card is the only recognised press pass. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, the Irish Press Card is not officially recognised by the British police or by public-sector bodies.
Italy / Italia
The Italian press association (Federazione Nationale della Stampa Italiana — FNSI) is the only union of Italian journalists and has functioned since 1948 in accordance with Article 39 of the Italian constitution as the national council of the Italian press, in other words as a kind of guild for journalists. Only journalists registered with the FNSI receive a press pass.
Croatia / Republika Hrvatska
The Croatian journalists’ association (HND), which comprises more than 3,000 members, issues the Croatian press pass. Proof of full-time journalistic activity is required for membership, which displays uninterrupted professional experience of at least three years. Proof of publication and regular income. There are two further journalists’ associations that cooperate with the HND: the Union of Croatian Journalists (SNH) and the Croatian Sports Journalists Association (HZSN).
The journalists’ association impressum is the largest professional press association in the Principality of Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Over 5,500 journalists and press photographers are members of impressum. Only active members who are entered in the professional register of active journalists and media professionals receive a press pass. Sports Media Liechtenstein (SML) is the association of Liechtenstein sports journalists. Part-time sports journalists are also accepted provided they can prove their activities as sports journalists. The SML press pass is valid for two years.
Lithuania / Lietuva
The Lithuanian Union of Journalist’s (LUJ) is the decisive association for journalists in Lithuania. The association is organised as a trade union (Journalist’s Union). The Lithuanian journalists’ association does not issue any press passes of its own; members receive the International Press Card from the IFJ (Brussels), which is valid for two years. In addition, members receive a membership certificate and a membership card for the LUJ.
Luxemburg / Luxembourg
The profession of “Journalist” is legally protected in Luxembourg. Responsibility for the recognition of full-time and part-time journalists lies with the Press Council (Conseil de Presse). Journalists are represented by the professional associations Association Luxembourgeoise des Journalistes (ALJ) and the Union des Journalistes Luxembourg (ULJ). The journalists’ union IPI (Interregionale Presse — Presse Interrégionale) issues an interregional press pass. Following decision 13 in the district of Saar-Lor-Lux, this press pass must be recognised by all regions and treated like each of the national press passes. Cost: 30 Euro per year.
Netherlands / Nederland
More than 12,000 journalists work in the Netherlands and around 10,000 of these are members of the journalists’ union Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ). The official press pass (politieperskaart) is available to journalists who have been members of the NVJ for at least three months. The NVJ Press Card id issued to full-time and part-time journalists. And in addition, a police press pass can be obtained from the Stichting Politieperskaart. However, usually only full-time journalists receive this pass, who can provide special confirmation from their employer and who can prove that they work for the staff of a mass media organisation.
Norway / Norge / Noreg
The Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ) organises full-time professional journalists. More than 9,000 members belong to the NJ, which represents almost one hundred percent of all journalists in Norway. Members of the NJ can apply for the Norwegian Press Card (valid for three years) or the international press pass of the IFJ. The NJ membership costs 1.6 percent of fixed income; freelance journalists pay an global annual fee.
Poland / Rzeczpospolita Polska
There are two national journalists’ associations in Poland: the Polish Journalists Association (SDP) and the journalists’ association of the Republic of Poland (SdRP). Both organisations have regional offices in large Polish cities. With almost 3,000 members and 16 branches the SDP is the leading association in Poland. Members receive the Polish press card, which brings additional benefits (medical provision, information from the authorities, etc.). Annual fee approx. 30 Euro plus 15 Euro registration fee.
Two associations issue press passes in Portugal: the Clube de Jornalistas Press Club and the National Union (Sindicato Nacional dos Jornalistas). 7,000 journalists are members of the two organisations, the majority of whom (over 5,000) are in the National Union, which is also a member in the European Federation of Journalists (FEJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The cost of the press pass/membership is between 20 and 35 Euro per year.
Slovakia / Slovensko
The Slovakian journalists’ association (SSN) is organised as a trade union and has 2,500 members. Membership costs are between 22 and 35 Euro. Members are entitled to an international press pass (cost: 40 Euro for two years). Advantages of membership: free legal advice, free admission to (motor) sports events and museums, AIPS card, discounts on publishers’ publications, use of chalets, etc.
Spain / España
The Federacion de Asociaciones de la Prensa de Espana (FAPE) is the leading combined association for journalists in Spain. 48 member associations belong to the FAPE, who represent a total of more than 19,000 media makers (associations for scientific journalists, photojournalists and correspondents, but also associations that are active only regionally). Membership caries many additional benefits, e.g., discounts on hotel rooms, trips, banks, insurance, automobiles, museums, recreational activities, sport, healthcare, etc. The international journalists’ card must be applied for via the respective association.
Sweden / Sverige
Around 18,000 members belong to the Swedish journalists’ association. The association is organised as a trade union; almost 10 percent of members are freelance. All those who work actively in Sweden as journalists can become members. Proof of journalistic activity is required (employment contract), as well as written confirmation of the professional code. The cost of the press pass including membership fee is based on income. With an annual income of 30,000 Euro this amounts to 450 Euro per year.
Switserland / Suisse / Schweiz
A total of three associations represent journalists in Switzerland: active members of the association Impressum are professional journalists and receive a press pass which is based on the professional register (BR) of media makers who engage in journalistic activity. Membership costs 270 to 315 SFR per year. Members of the media trade union comedia are entitled to the Swiss press pass and an entry in the professional register of media makers who engage in journalistic activity. The BR press pass can be obtained for 40 SFR. The association of Swiss specialist journalists represents around 1,000 members of the specialist press. Recognition is reserved for a minimum amount specialist journalistic activity and acceptance into the professional register (BR) allows members to pursue a part-time job in their specialist area.
Turkey / Türkiye Cumhuriyeti
In Turkey journalists and photo reporters have a wide selection of professional associations, unions and media organisations: more than 30 associations represent the interest of media makers. However, most have low membership levels and do not issue press passes. The largest association is the trade union-dominated Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi, which cooperates with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and from whom it obtains IFJ press passes for its TGS-members. Other organisations include: Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği, Türkiye Spor Yazarları Derneği, Alanya Gazeteciler Cemiyeti Anadolu Basın Birliği, Adıyaman Gazeteciler Cemiyeti and Foto Muhabirleri Derneği.
United Kingdom / Great-Britain
The National Union of Journalists (founded in 1907) is the trade union of British and Irish journalists and — with around 35,000 members — one of the largest journalists’ trade unions in the world. As well as journalists in the narrowest sense of the word it is open to all persons who are primarily active in the editorial field. The National Press Card of the NUJ is recognised by the British police (ACPOS) and public-sector bodies. All of the important media organisations accept the press pass, including BBC, Sky and Reuters. The press pass enjoys a high degree of prestige and in the United Kingdom represents a kind of mark of honour for journalists.
In the United States, there is no central organisation or trade-union who issues press passes. Access to journalists is granted by each organisation seperately. The most practical solution is to get an international press card.