Pro Bono Support for Reporters Shield
Pro Bono Support for Reporters Shield

Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer Makes an Impact on Free Speech

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Recently, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the launch of “Reporters Shield”, an insurance fund meant to protect journalists from strategic lawsuits, also known as SLAPPs.

“Right now, around the world, there are more than 500 journalists who are in detention of some kind. Just in the last year, 67 journalists have been killed while doing their work,” said Samantha Power, the Administrator of USAID.

Power explained that “Reporters Shield” will allow journalists who may not have the means to compete with a repressive governments to actually have the insurance and the legal protection they need in order to fight back, and hold accountable those actors who are trying to steal from, and repress their people. She further explained that suing reporters or media agencies until the stories or abandoned, or the outlet goes out of business, is one of the evolving threats to democracy we see today.

Local law firm, 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 will operate on a membership basis, accepting applications from outlets and organizations from North America, South America, Europe and Central Asia to start. USAID is contributing up to $9 million in seed funding for the program to support non-U.S. media. Private donor contributions fund the program to support U.S. media.

About Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer

Firm founder John Primmer formed the first Vermont captive insurer in 1982. Today, Vermont is the preeminent domestic domicile for captive insurers, and Primmer is the leading law firm representing captives in Vermont and other domiciles. Primmer represents more than 200 captives and alternative risk facilities, including single parent, associations, risk retention groups, industrial insureds, reciprocals, sponsored captives, risk purchasing groups, branch captives and special purpose financial insurance companies. The firm works continuously on behalf of its clients to maintain a sound but flexible regulatory environment, both in Vermont and in other leading domiciles. In addition to captive insurance, Primmer represents 23 other practice areas and operates six offices throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington DC.