Reporters Shield is a membership program that defends investigative reporting around the world from legal threats meant to silence critical voices. The program is for media outlets and NGOs that report in the public interest.

Media around the world increasingly risk facing expensive, and sometimes existential, lawsuits for reporting the truth. In the past few years, the number of SLAPPs — strategic lawsuits against public participation — has grown significantly. These suits are filed specifically to threaten, intimidate, and financially burden journalists. As a result, media outlets may be forced to self-censor, avoid stories about litigious individuals, and remove stories from their websites upon receiving legal threats. This situation harms press freedom, democracy, and the free flow of information that the public has a right to receive.

Experience shows that journalists usually win SLAPPs if the suit is brought in a country where there is rule of law and they have good legal representation. Reporters Shield works in partnership with members to prevent lawsuits, respond to legal threats, and defend them against defamation lawsuits.

Reporters Shield will help members to avoid lawsuits by providing training, resources, and pre-publication review in high-risk circumstances. The program will identify qualified lawyers to respond to legal threats and coordinate and cover legal representation up to a pre-agreed limit in the event of a lawsuit.