The Department of Information and Media (DoIM), Ministry of Information and Communications, is pleased to issue the following notification to all concerned with regards to the procedure to be followed for processing the visits of foreign media personnel:
1. Foreign Journalists/reporters
All foreign journalists/reporters wishing to visit Bhutan to cover events write print and TV news items/articles etc are required to process their visits through the local travel operators/Department ofTourism,Bhutan. Visa application processing, flight bookings, airport transfers, hotel reservations and traveling within Bhutan are best handled by the travel operators.
Generally all such visitors are required to pay the daily tourist tariff that covers all of the above arrangements plus meals. Media personnel from countries who do not need visa for Bhutanese also encouraged to avail the services of the travel operators for the services they provide.
The specific purpose of their visit must be clearly stated in their visa application form.
If they wish to meet with or have interviews with the government officials and dignitaries, they must notify DoIM accordingly prior to their arrival inBhutanand the following information/documents must be furnished:
i. Personal CV
ii. Profile of the news/broadcast agency they represent and a recommendation from the head of the agency
iii. Names/Titles of government officials/dignitaries they would like to meet along with an outline of topics they would like to discuss
iv. Travel itinerary
DoIM will assist in arranging the appointments and interviews by way of a written request on their behalf, but cannot provide any assurance. All communications in this respect may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Those visiting Bhutanto cover important events may apply for accreditation (not mandatory) bye Bhutan Information Communication and Media Authority (BICMA). The application for accreditation can be downloaded fro http://www.bhutan.gov.bt/government/governmentFor ms.php and forwarded to the DoIM with two passport size photos. The Accreditation Certificate is issued by BICMA upon payment of a fee of Nu.1, 000 (One thousand) only.
2. Filming and Documentary making
All filming and documentary making inBhutanby foreign film and television companies are governed by Bhutan Filming Regulations (2006). The Regulations can be downloaded from www.bhutan .gov.bt/government/rulesAndRegulations.php?av_id=0.The application and approval process is summarized below:
A covering letter from the film agency or the travel operator on behalf of the agency, addressed to the Director, DoIM accompanied by the following documents:
i. Fliming Application Form duly completed in all (relevant) respects. The Application Form can be downloaded from www.bicma.gov.bt
ii. A Synopsis of the film
iii. CVs of the film crew
DoIM processes the Government approval for the filming application and upon receipt of the approval, the Filming Permit is issued by the BICMA against payment of the requisite fee and the Security deposit. Generally all applications will be approved within 1 working day and forwarded to BICMA for issuance of the Permit.
All government agencies, NGOs, foreign agencies, missions and embassies are requested to adhere to the procedure outlined above to obtain the approval and the Filming Permit.
The prescribed filming fee of US$3000 and the security deposit of US$ 2000 are mandatory for all. The provision in the earlier regulations for waiver of the fee for certain categories of films has been done away with.
All locations of shooting are to be specifically stated in the Application Form date-wise. In case a location is a restricted area, the DoIM will process for permission from the concerned agencies in accordance with their policies and regulations.
Validity of Film Permits
The film permits issued by BICMA are valid for the locations and for the period indicated in the Permit. Where Special Permits have been issued for the restricted locations, copies of such Special Permits will be attached to the Filming Permit.
Filming agencies or their counterparts (travel operator/local agency) are advised to contact the local authorities and inform them of the filming program particularly where restricted areas are involved.
Authority to check for Permit
Local authorities (Dzongkhags, Municipal authorities) are authorized to check if the filming crew has all the valid permits and documents for filming in their localities.