AEJ helps reverse U.S. journalist visa plan

The AEJ and major global media organisations have helped convince the U.S. government to withdraw a restrictive plan to limit the time foreign journalists and others could stay and work in the USA. AEJ media freedom representative and AEJ UK chairman William Horsley called it “a significant success for joint advocacy”.

In October 2020 the AEJ joined 24 global media organisations in a European Broadcasting Union (EBU) appeal to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to drop the plan. The group said the changes – proposed while Donald Trump was still president – would put media freedom at risk and jeopardise the work of foreign media to provide accurate, unbiased news reporting for global audiences from the USA.

U.S. Homeland Security proposed shorter visas – 240 days, with a possible extension of a maximum of another 240 days – but many foreign news organizations appoint correspondents for a number of years (commonly 2-5 years), allowing time for individual journalists to better understand the country and therefore better report on it to the rest of the world.

The U.S. government notice withdrawing the plan said they received 32,000 comments on the proposal of which 99 percent were opposed. Comments from the vast majority who opposed the plan said it would place significant burdens and exorbitant costs on foreign students, exchange scholars, foreign media representatives, and U.S. employers and potentially interrupt and delay their work or study – aside from being unnecessary to protect U.S. immigration policy.

USA drops plan
AEJ joins EBU appeal on visa plan