Reporters Shield

Legal Protection for Investigative Reporting













Media outlets are increasingly threatened by vexatious lawsuits intended to financially burden, intimidate, and silence them. In the past few years, the number of SLAPPs — strategic lawsuits against public participation — against the media has grown significantly with hundreds of cases being reported. Defending themselves against these cases has a major impact on journalists: they are forced to invest significant sums of money to hire lawyers or pay for increasingly unaffordable legal defense insurance.

Reporters Shield is a membership program that defends investigative reporting around the world from legal threats meant to silence critical voices. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, with assistance from insurance specialists, developed the program with the support of USAID. Pro bono legal support is provided by the law firms of Proskauer, Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. USAID is the anchor donor for this program, contributing up to $9 million in seed funding to non-U.S. media.

Reporters Shield will help position members to avoid lawsuits by providing training, resources, and also pre-publication review in high-risk circumstances. The program identifies qualified lawyers to respond to legal threats and coordinates and covers legal representation in the event of a lawsuit. 

Share This Page