Loosened regulations on management of information and press activities of the foreign press in Vietnam

To overcome the inappropriate points of previous regulations, the Government of Vietnam issued the Decree No. 88/2012/ND-CP (herein after referred as “Decree 88”) promulgating regulations on information and press activities of the foreign press and foreign agencies and organizations in Vietnam on 23 October 2012. The Decree 88 takes effect as from 20 December 2012 and replaces the Decree No. 67/CP dated 31 October 1996 (“Decree 67”).

  • Remarkable new points of the Decree No. 88

The Resident Office of the foreign press is allowed to locate its office at any central city or province instead of only Hanoi as regulated in previous regulations, upon writing approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (“MoFA”) and the People’s Committee of such province.

The Resident Office can hire press assistant and freelance for supporting operations of the Resident Office and resident journalists. The MoFA shall be the organization to provide press assistants to the Resident Office; meanwhile, the freelance shall be proposed by the Resident Office and approved by the MoFA.

Resident journalists shall be granted with Foreign Journalist Card with valid term of 12 months instead of 6 months as before.

In addition, the Decree 88 permits the resident journalists to interview and contact directly senior leaders of Vietnam and to implement press activities in localities of Vietnam. In past, the resident journalists must contact the provincial foreign office before implementing the press activities in localities outside Hanoi.

The Decree 88 has regulated on journalists in pluralism which are journalists working for another resident office in Vietnam or being resident journalist in another country. This is a new point of the Decree 88 in comparison with the Decree No. 67. Regulations on journalists in pluralism are applied the same as resident journalists.

  • Licensing procedures applied to resident foreign journalists

Resident journalists are foreign journalists appointed by the foreign press agencies to work at its Resident Office in Vietnam.

Foreign press agencies must send application on appointment of resident foreign journalist to the MoFA or Representative Organization of Vietnam overseas for approval. Within the time limit of 15 working days, the competent authority shall issue document on acceptance or rejection. Upon the acceptance, the foreign journalists shall complete the procedures for obtaining visa (if required by laws).
Resident journalists are allowed to request for Foreign Journalist Card by sending application to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Within the time limit of 15 working days since the date of receiving valid application, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall issue Foreign Journalist Card to the applicant. The Card is renewable and re-granted in case of loss according to the decision of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • Licensing procedures applied to non – resident journalists and journalists accompanied by foreign delegation visiting Vietnam.

Nonresident journalists are foreign journalist visiting Vietnam for implementing information, press activities for a short term and not entitled to resident journalists’ regime.

The nonresident journalist who wants to implement the information, press activities in Vietnam must send the application to MoFA or Representative Organization of Vietnam overseas. After 10 working days since the date of receiving valid dossier, the competent authority shall respond to the applicant. In case of acceptance, the MoFA shall issue Press Permit to nonresident journalists. The nonresident journalist must carry along the Press Permit and passport during the implementation of press activities in Vietnam and must obey the target and agenda stated in Press Permit.
Besides, the journalists visiting Vietnam together with foreign delegation upon invitation of the leaders of Party, State or the MoFA of Vietnam for reporting on the visit, the host authority must implement the procedures on entry – exit and to notice to the MoFA for co-operation. If such foreign journalists would like to carry out any press activity other than the visit, they must apply for Press Permit as non-resident journalists. The journalists accompanied by delegation visiting Vietnam upon invitation of other Vietnamese authorities also are requested to apply for Press Permit as non-resident journalist.

  • Licensing procedures applied to Resident Office of the foreign press in Vietnam.

Resident Office is the representative office of the foreign press in Vietnam.
For establishment of Resident Office in Vietnam, the foreign press shall send a dossier includes: (i) application for establishment (in standard form); (ii) legalized document on legal entity status of the foreign press; (iii) information document on the foreign press to the MoFA or the Representative Organization of Vietnam overseas for approval. After 60 days since the date of receiving valid dossier, the MoFA shall grant the Permit of Establishment of Resident Office to the foreign press in case of acceptance. The Permit of Establishment shall be automatically invalid if there is no resident journalist working in the Resident Office for the period of 180 days consecutively.

The Resident Office must notice on the address of the office to the MoFA at least 30 days prior to the date of official operation. This regulation is different from those applied to representative office of foreign traders in Vietnam, in which the address of to-be established representative office must be stated in the application.