The rapid development and the radical transformation of modern communication technologies, together with an increase in the number of Vatican entities involved in various sectors of media, make it necessary to adjust certain application procedures found in the Regulations for audiovisual coverage of ceremonies and places directly dependent on the Holy See, which have been in place since 2002.
It is necessary to first establish a distinct classification of the different types of audiovisual requests, distinguishing between "Projects" and "News," in order to determine the specific procedures required for handling the various types of requests submitted. "Projects" include documentaries, television series, general television productions, photographic publications, and all types of feature programs. Complete and detailed information will be required in advance from the applicant regarding the themes to be covered, how it will be produced, broadcast and distributed.
"News" refers to events which are regularly scheduled, such as celebrations in the Vatican Basilica, other Papal Basilicas, St. Peter's Square, the Wednesday general audiences, the Holy Father’s visits to Roman parishes or to other places in the city, the visits of Heads of State and Government in the Apostolic Palace, and special features and interviews that regard current news and events given immediate news coverage.
Under the new provisions, which take effect on 1 May, 2013, there will be a unification of the journalistic accreditation process, a responsibility previously shared by the Secretariat for Communications [SPC] and the Press Office of the Holy See. The management of the various forms of accreditation, for both print and audiovisual journalists, is entrusted exclusively to the Press Office of the Holy See. Under this arrangement the Press Office is also entrusted with the granting of permits for all matters related to coverage of News .
These procedures regulating access to the Vatican by third parties - public or private - for the production of audiovisual content, aim also to promote a wide participation of producers, while at the same time ensuring the proper management of audiovisual services.
In regards to News, requests should be made to the Accreditation Office of the Press Office of the Holy See. If requests have been sent first to other Vatican entitites, they will be redirected to the Press Office for consideration.
Similarly, SPC will handle the accreditation of Projects, through its Media Projects office. Projects submitted to other Vatican entities first will be redirected to SPC for consideration.
The management of the audiovisual area, which includes television coverage, cinematography, photography, radio and other recordings involving the use of any instruments for producing content for public dissemination, is entrusted to the Press Office. Projects such as documentaries, television series and television feature productions are managed by the Secretariat for Communications (SPC).
The appropriate office will first make a preliminary assessment of the request submitted and then inform the applicant of the next steps necessary.
In the case of a positive response to the request, the Press Office (or the Secretariat for Communications as noted above) will verify compliance with the requirements cited in the Regulations. In particular, the office will:
initiate the procedures for contacting and informing the Vatican entitites involved in the production and communicating the applicant’s full acceptance of the regulations and also the administrative details required by each entity;
establish, on the basis of prior consultations, the dates of implementation; secure with its own personnel or - based on understandings between the parties concerned - the necessary assistance at the time of filming; communicate - even in the case of approved requests - any restrictions on the places where production will occur;
present at the outset to those responsible for the project, the full requirements regarding copyrights related to audiovisual production and utilization, and, where applicable, those regarding movies, film and photographic material already available in the archives of the Vatican Television Centre or from other sources;
after the verification of agreements with the other entities, to give permission to move forward with the various phases of the project or news coverage.
It is also within the rights of the Press Office, or of the Secretariat for Communications, to decide, on the basis of ethical or professional assessments, to not move forward with certain projects. In particular, priority is given to projects of immediate reference to the religious mission of the Holy See, as well as to the particular artistic, historical and cultural dimensions of its entities. It is consistent with this, especially for the most demanding projects, to require the assistance of a qualified ecclesiastical adviser, whose evaluations are directly sent to the Press Office or the Secretariat for Communications.
These procedures have been established in order to:
handle the reception of applications for audiovisual coverage in Vatican territory that, due to their purpose and quality, contribute to informing the public in an accurate and expedient way and promote a proper understanding of the different realities of the Holy See and Vatican City State;
facilitate the execution of these productions, ensuring due respect for the religious and moral mission of the Holy See and to avoid disturbance of liturgical celebrations and ceremonies or of the activity of the offices of the Holy See and Vatican City State.
These procedures apply to filming, recordings for television, cinema, radio, discography, and photography intended for public information and dissemination, and requests made by any entity, regarding:
liturgical celebrations, ceremonies, celebrations or visits that take place in the presence of the Holy Father;
events or celebrations that take place under the direct responsibility the Holy See;
people, places, buildings, monuments or works of art that are in the territory of the Vatican City State and in the extraterritorial zones that are dependent on the Holy See.
Entities or agencies operating in the field of communications, or production companies and designated free-lance companies desiring permission to shoot or record, should refer to art. 3. To obtain the necessary authorization a written request must be submitted to the Press Office or SPC in the manner indicated above.
Requests should be submitted online, sufficiently in advance, by official letter on letterhead and signed by the applicant or legal representative; in the case of projects affiliated with Church organizations, the application should be accompanied by documentation from the competent ecclesiastical authority.
The official request should be accompanied by a detailed description of the project and, in particular, must include the following information:
the scope and the final destination intended for the piece that is intended to be broadcast: such as photographic reporting, filming relating to the area of "News" or forms of production of a broader scope, documentaries and television series. Requests for preparing reports and photographic reportages should include: specific descriptions of the contents of the editorial or piece that is being prepared, the name of the Editor or the contact journalist, and the circulation and distribution area of publication. Similarly, requests for the purpose of film production, documentaries, television programs or multimedia productions, should include all essential data regarding the identity of the production company and the director, the topic and the title, which should also be accompanied with a copy of the script and pertinent information regarding the schedule, specifically indicating the period and the occasion of the broadcast, the broadcast times and information about any insertions of commercial advertising. Musical productions must also supply the relevant texts;
specific information on the execution and use of the coverage obtained whether used in the field of publishing or in any aspect of media, information regarding shooting techniques and construction, format, support, distribution of channels, methods of fruition, including the type, extent and duration of the rights of use and exploitation of the production in the context of print or electronic media (CD-Rom, DVD, Blue-ray, e-books, etc..) or for television on different platforms (TV-free, analog and digital TV, unencrypted satellite, cable, pay-TV and digital terrestrial and satellite, pay-per- view, T Mobile etc.); the use of the streaming via Internet, whether simultaneously with the broadcast or with an on-demand option to download the file for a fee, diffusion through telephone terminals or through applications and diversified media devices (Iphone, Ipad, etc ...), and about cd rights, either theatrical or non-theatrical;
accurate reporting of ceremonies and places filmed or recorded, as well as of the persons referred to in interviews or comments, along with an indication of the date of the shooting.
a list of: persons comprising the team in charge of the shoot, the equipment and materials to be used, and an indication of the vehicles which need access to designated places.
Applications will not be taken into consideration regarding productions or films which fall into the genre of "fiction," or which propose to shoot movies or scenes with actors and/or extras in the Vatican area, including extraterritorial zones and environments. Filming and interviews are not permitted in sacred places with presenters or commentators, except in special cases authorized specifically by the relevant bodies (depending on the kind of production and the nature of the sites involved)
Productions for the purposes of advertising and the promotion of tourism will not be taken into consideration.
Upon receipt of the required documentation, the Press Office and, for relevant projects, the Secretariat for Communications will:
examine the request and assess the possibility of granting it and, if accepted, will initiate the relevant procedures;
establish whether or not the coverage requested corresponds to the provisions in these procedures;
inform the Secretariat of State, in the case of coverage of significant importance, especially with reference to the person of the Holy Father, if the documentation supplied fulfils the instructions given. In special and urgent cases, the Secretary of State will grant the necessary authorization;
taking into account the special prerogatives of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, which oversees the organization and logistics of Papal Audiences as well as every form of activity in the Apostolic Palace, will obtain permissions for audiovisual coverage in these areas, as agreed upon in advance with that office. The agreements should also extend to any other event relating to the activities of the Holy Father, with the exception of papal celebrations, whose jurisdiction is delegated to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, which is concerned with all liturgical aspects. The numerical composition of the pool of audiovisual equipment and persons covering visits of Heads of State and Government should be agreed upon with the Prefecture of the Papal Household. The diplomatic missions of the countries involved should indicate the official photographers or camera operators who are allowed at the audience, or if they should be allowed to participate only in the first phase of the visit in the main Courtyard of San Damaso;
classify whether the request belongs to the area of "Projects" or "News", then contact the appropriate authorities concerned at the Vatican and submit to them, to the extent applicable, a request for an evaluation of the request’s suitability for the granting of or refusal of authorization, while transmitting the pertinent information regarding the proposed project and its use and dissemination;
collect the opinions expressed by interested parties - and therefore, with their consent and instructions concerning the availability of places or goods belonging to them, specify the rules of protection provided for such environments and works, the means of access, the conditions applicable to the execution of coverage and the provisions which must be honored in regards to administrative requirements and rights - and the Press Office, and in particular cases, the Secretariat for Communications, which will check the compatibility of the latter with the request submitted and communicate the acceptance of the project to the applicant, making the terms known as well as any restrictions and conditions imposed by the authorities concerned. The request should then be suitably adjusted and undersigned by both parties;
as soon as the communication is obtained regarding the stipulations to which the applicant must abide according to the relative agreements regarding the administrative aspects and rights granted by the Vatican entities involved, the Press Office (or the Secretariat for Communications) will forward the documentation regarding the type, extent and duration of the rights of use, exploitation and circulation to the Vatican Television Center, which, as the holder of legal right and duty regarding television coverage within the territory of the Vatican City State and of the buildings occupied by offices and the dependent bodies of the Holy See "(cf. Statute of the CTV, art. 2.1), the Press Office (or the Secretariat for Communications) shall prepare and issue a license for the rights of television broadcasting and a license on the rights of the use of images, which the applicant must undersign, except as provided for by specific agreements with individual organizations.
issue the necessary authorization for the shooting once the agreement with the Vatican Television Center has been signed by the applicant and inform the competent authorities and Services, including the Corps of the Gendarmerie, which is given the duty of enforcing the provisions relating to the shooting.
Without prejudice and subject to all agreements stipulated by the individual institutions involved along with the Vatican Television Center, the Press Office (or the Secretariat for Communications) asks that the contracting party, before commencing shooting, agrees in writing to comply with the following regulations, that is if the following has not already been ratified by a prior signed agreement:
to observe and maintain the utmost respect by all who are responsible for filming and all members of the work team, for those affected by the execution of these operations, with particular reference to sacred sites and all that concerns the Person of the Supreme Pontiff;
to use the material filmed or recorded exclusively for the agreed upon purposes only, that is the program and the production for which the coverage was expressly authorized, and not to use the same material for purposes, productions or programs other than the one for which the footage or recordings were originally authorized. For further or future use or exploitation, prior consideration and written approval of the Press Office or the Secretariat for Communications must be obtained along with that of the interested Vatican entities;
to preview, if requested, the production before it is publically transmitted, and to receive by an agreed upon date, a copy of the finished product in a professional format, to be allocated to the Vatican Film Library (see Statute of the Vatican Film Library, Art. 3, b, AAS, vol. 51.1959).
All staff involved in obtaining the coverage and all team members are required to comply with the provisions of the Commander of the Gendarmerie Corps, which is responsible, under article 7, for the supervision of the coverage itself.
In cases in which the coverage of a single event is requested by many producers, the Press Office will facilitate an agreement among the applicants, in order to avoid an excessive confluence of operators.
Audiovisual productions initiated by the Holy See or the Vatican City State and its entities, which concern the places and areas within their own jurisdiction, should inform the Secretariat for Communications or the Press Office of the proposal before arranging for audiovisual coverage.
For requests regarding the area of "News," the nature and continuity of the established relationship with other communication outlets is mindfully respected, such as that with journalists with "permanent accreditation," which is granted by the Press Office only after a reasonable period of regular and systematic presence at various activities of the Holy See.