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Reporters Without Borders is calling on the whole profession to think about journalists’ safety and is proposing an insurance scheme for freelancers

The toll...

More than 500 journalists have been killed within the last decade-nearly half of them in war zones or dangerous areas. Eight journalists were killed in Afghanistan in November 2001. While honouring them for their courage, we also need to take steps to help limit the risks encountered by such journalists. Over the last several months, Reporters Without Borders has been taking a number of initiatives to improve the security of journalists who go on dangerous assignments. In order to limit the risks incurred by reporters, the organization is asking the media, in particular, to better ensure the safety of their employees and contributors by committing to the principles set out in the Charter for the Safety of Journalists Working in War Zones or Dangerous Areas.

What about freelance journalists?

Reporters without Borders, a press freedom organization, has also been making specific proposals concerning the safety of freelance reporters, who are too often vulnerable in regions of conflict or unrest because they lack the means to take out adequate insurance policies. After meeting with the FreeLens and ANJRPC associations on the issue of freelance journalist safety, Reporters Without Borders asked the Audiens Insurance Group to extend its group coverage to include freelance reporters who are members of Reporters Without Borders. Freelancers who wish to sign up for this insurance policy are invited to join the press freedom organisation by paying an annual membership fee of €10 in France, or €15 in other countries.

An insurance policy for peace of mind

Freelance journalists, who often operate on very limited budgets, can at last enjoy insurance benefits at very affordable rates, with 24h/day coverage during all work assignments, abroad or in France, for a maximum of 90 consecutive days, extended to include war-related risks. Designed especially for freelance journalists by the Audiens Insurance Goup (formerly IPS Bellini-Gütenberg), in partnership with ACE Assistance, this insurance policy can be obtained through Reporters Without Borders. This offer is reserved for residents of European Union countries. The insurance policy offers three coverage options: option 1 (€3 per day) provides assistance benefits. Options 2 and 3 (€6 and €7.50 per day) offer assistance benefits and accidental death or disability benefits for accidents occurring during an assignment. Option 3 provides the highest amounts of compensation.

As from 1 May, the scheme’s assistance partner, ACE Europe, has imposed a surcharge for journalists going to the following countries : Afghanistan, Algeria, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestinian Authority and Syria.

The campaign: "Freelance journalists: for three euros, we’ve got you covered!"

The ad visual shows a man wearing a gas mask and holding a submachine gun. It bears the following caption: "Freelance journalists: for three euros, we’ve got you covered!" followed by a few lines describing the insurance plan. The campaign, which has been implemented in English, French, and Spanish, was planned by Franck Ovigne, the Arriba agency’s creative director, and Jean Charles Fauques, his editor, who donated their time and resources at no cost.

Call to action

Reporters Without Borders is launching an appeal to editorial offices, press clubs, syndicates, journalism associations and schools, specialised Internet sites, news sites, etc., to help spread this information to freelance journalists by passing on the promotional campaign materials to their freelance contacts and members. Reporters Without Borders is asking each of these groups to designate an internal "safety delegate" to take charge of raising awareness about freelance journalists’ safety-related problems by adapting the message to their own respective media.

In order to facilitate this effort, our press freedom organization will provide:
-  a press campaign that can be adapted to the desired format for the medium concerned;
-  small 30 x 40 posters;
-  an informative mailing that invites the reader to send in the addresses of other freelance colleagues who may be interested in the offer. This may be distributed as an insert in publications or sent out to a list of recipients printed on mailing labels;
-  an Internet banner (animated .gif file format) with a link to www.rsf.org
-  a special report on freelance journalists’ insurance and safety at www.rsf.org, as well as:

-  the insurance policy and instructions explaining in detail the documents required to sign up;

-  the Charter for the Safety of Journalists Working in War Zones or Dangerous Areas (adopted by Reuters, France 2, RFI, RTL, L’Express, Le Journal du Dimanche, Sud Ouest, Les DNA, and El Periodico de Catalunya);

-  The Practical Guide for Journalists, published by Reporters Without Borders and UNESCO;

-  The document "Information and recommendations on the safety of journalists in dangerous areas in France and elsewhere," written by Reporters Without Borders , FreeLens, and ANJRPC, which lists helpful information for journalists who travel to dangerous areas.

For more information and/or to obtain campaign materials, please contact:

Lucie Morillon - Reporters without Borders- Tel.: 01 44 83 84 72 - E-mail: communication2@rsf.org / Sara Kianpour - Reporters without Borders - Tel.: 01 44 83 84 75 - E-mail: sara@rsf.org To sign up for the insurance for freelance journalists, please contact: Matthieu Fargeas - Tel.: 01 44 83 84 81 - E-mail: comptabilite@rsf.org




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