French labour / Employement law - Should we have the press card to be a professional journalist? By CHHUM AVOCATS (Paris, Nantes, Lille)

The question is whether holding the press card is necessary to be a journalist?

I) Definition of the status of journalist.

Article L. 7111-3 of the Labor Code stipulates that a professional journalist "is one whose principal, regular and paid occupation is the exercise of his profession in one or more daily or periodical publications or press agencies and who draws the principal of its resources.

The quality of professional journalist implies the meeting of 4 conditions:

1. The exercise of a journalistic activity.

According to settled case law, a journalist is defined as one who exercises an intellectual and permanent collaboration with a periodical publication for the purpose of informing readers [1].

2. The principal exercise of the profession of journalist.

For example, it has been held that the status of professional journalist, who derives 60% of his annual resources through the practice of medicine in association, can not be granted, although "only the exercise journalism determines the application of the status of professional journalists it is not subordinated to the exclusive exercise of this activity "[2].

3. The exercise of the profession must provide the person concerned with most of his resources.

The journalist must draw the main of his resources, not important the low income [3].

Therefore, any agreement by which a press company makes sure, in return for remuneration, the assistance of a professional journalist is presumed to be a contract of employment. This presumption remains regardless of the world and the amount of the remuneration as well as the qualification given by the parties [4].


4. The practice of the profession must be carried out in one (or more) publication (s).

The recognition of the quality of professional journalist is not necessarily subordinated to the exercise of this activity in a press enterprise [5] but the journalist must work in a press publication with editorial independence [6].

Finally, "professional editorial staff, copywriters, stenographers-editors, copywriters, reporters / cartoonists, reporters-photographers, excluding advertising agents and those who are not" are considered professional journalists. provide, in any capacity whatsoever, occasional collaboration "(Article L. 7111-4 of the Labor Code).

The quality of journalist allows in particular to benefit from the collective agreement of the Journalists which is very favorable: payment of a premium of seniority as well as a premium of 13th month and right to a conventional indemnity of dismissal equivalent to 1 month of salary by year of seniority.

II) Detention of the press card: a simple presumption of the status of journalist but it is not a necessary condition to be a journalist.

Article R.7111-1 of the Labor Code states that "the professional identity card of journalists may be issued only to persons who, in accordance with the provisions of Articles L. 7111-3 to L. 7111-5, are professional journalists or are considered professional journalists. "

However, according to a decision of the Social Chamber of the Court of Cassation of 1 April 1992 "are journalists within the meaning of the latter text those who provide an intellectual and permanent collaboration to a periodical publication for the information of readers, it does not matter that a professional card has been handed to them. "[7]

The possession of the professional card in itself insufficient to establish that its holder does indeed have the status of professional journalist within the meaning of the legal text [8].

The press card is not "the" condition for qualifying as a professional journalist.

This is only a means of proving the quality of journalism.

The Court of Cassation has reaffirmed this recently, considering that the Court of Appeal had ruled on a groundless reason in holding that the possession of the journalist's card allowed to claim the status of professional journalist.

The Court of Cassation, however, recognized the status of professional journalist to the employee who worked for an audiovisual press company, which regularly provided him with work and that he drew most of his resources from this activity [9]

The request for a press card must be sent to the Commission of the professional journalists' identity card accompanied by the justifications provided for in Article R. 7111-2 of the Labor Code.

The annual renewal is done on justification of the activity of journalist during the calendar year (R.7111-7 and R.7111-8).


Maître Frédéric CHHUM

CHHUM AVOCATS (Paris, Nantes, Lille)



.Paris : 4 rue Bayard 75008 Paris tel : 0142560300
.Nantes : 41, Quai de la Fosse 44000 Nantes tel : 0228442644

.Lille : 25, rue Gounod 59000 Lille tel : 0320135083

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