Licensing exam for journalists: Some countries have and some don’t

Bhrikuti Rai / August 15, 2016



Press Council Nepal’s (PCN) recent proposal to conduct licensing exam for journalists has led to a huge debate on social media, with some supporting and others opposing the idea.

Those involved in making the recommendation in a PCN report have been defending the idea saying several countries require journalists to undergo licensing tests.

South Asia Check has examined whether other countries also have such provision for journalists and sought help from fact checkers and journalists from several countries.

In South Asia, none of the countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan have licensing exams for journalists. In India, in 2013 a sitting minister had “proposed a common examination for journalists to qualify them for a reporter’s license” but that idea never took off. However, the Supreme Court of India has set out strict requirements for journalists covering the country’s top court including a law degree and several years of court reporting.

In the US, there is no provision for mandatory licensing exam for journalists, but a recent study titled “Who gets a press pass? Media Credentialing Practice in the Unites States” shows that it is difficult to acquire press pass.

In the UK too, exams aren’t mandatory for aspiring journalists. While some media houses prefer journalists trained from the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), it isn’t compulsory for journalists to receive training at NCTJ.

Unlike several countries in Europe, Italy requires aspiring journalists to go through 18 months of internship followed by a written and oral test before they can become a member of Order of Journalists and start working as full time professional journalists. However, in recent years following the economic slump, many newsrooms haven’t made it mandatory for journalists to go through the lengthy process.

While there is no mandatory exam for journalists in Ecuador in South America, there is a regulation that requires journalists from traditional media (TV, radio, newspaper) to have a degree in journalism. Other countries like South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia also don’t have licensing exam for journalists.

This material is copyrighted but may be used for any purpose by giving due credit to