The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched Reporters Shield, an insurance fund to protect journalists from strategic lawsuits, using a captive solution provided by law firm Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer.
Vermont-based Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer provided pro bono legal support for the formation of the non-profit insurance fund.
Through its captive insurance management department, Primmer was able to design and form a captive solution that helped make Reporters Shield a reality.
Jesse Crary, shareholder with Primmer, who donated his time to the formation of Reporters Shield, said: “Reporters Shield will hopefully have a large impact on the way that stories get reported, and how we can create safe spaces for journalists to report on what they are actually seeing.
“The existence of this captive can have global impact. I am proud to have provided my skills and expertise to assist in its formation.”
Reporters Shield has been established to support journalists to fight back when they are challenged by “repressive governments” by providing insurance and the legal protection.
“Right now, around the world, there are more than 500 journalists who are in detention of some kind,” said Samantha Power, the Administrator of USAID.
“Just in the last year, 67 journalists have been killed while doing their work.
The fund will operate on a membership basis, accepting applications from outlets and organisations from North America, South America, Europe and Central Asia to start.
USAID is contributing up to $9m in seed funding for the programme to support non-US media, while private donor contributions fund the programme to support US media.