United States limits visa duration for foreign correspondents

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Justine Cohendet (access the author's page)

In a letter signed by 24 media, the European Broadcasting Union calls on the US government to abandon the new regulation which reduces the duration of visas for foreign correspondents from 5 years to 240 days, with the possibility of renewing their stay of 'a maximum of 240 additional days only.

The US Department of Homeland Security quietly introduced the regulations in late September, with a 30-day comment period ending this Sunday. The Trump administration says it wants to limit the length of stay of journalists in the United States to reduce fraud and improve national security .

According to the European Broadcasting Union, this new rule seriously threatens the exercise of the journalist profession.

So far, visas for foreign journalists can be up to five years. Former CBC US correspondent Christian Latreille fears it will be difficult to do his job as a journalist in less than a year. <q data-attributes = '{"lang": {"value": "fr", "label": "Français"}, "value": {"html": "I can hardly see how, in 240days, one can efficiently, in a conscientious and serious manner, do one's work as a correspondent "," text ":" I see very badly how, in 240 days, one can effectively, in a conscientious and serious manner, do his work as a correspondent "} } 'lang = "fr”>I find it very difficult to see how, in 240 days, one can effectively, conscientiously and seriously, do his work as a correspondent, he explains.

I spent five years in the United States, five years in Washington as a correspondent for Radio-Canada, and I was just beginning to understand the country.

Christian Latreille, Radio-Canada correspondent in the United States from 2014 to 2019

The 24 media who signed the letter also criticize the lack of clarity in the new regulations regarding visa renewal criteria. A finding shared by the Foreign Press Association.

Many fear that what they write will be taken into account when the time comes to apply for a renewal of their visa, explains Ian Williams, president of the Foreign Press Association.

The European Broadcasting Union believes that these new regulations endanger the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees, among other things, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. This regulation risks damaging the reputation of the United States, a country that defines itself as democratic, free and open.

With information from Sébastien Desrosiers

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