Journalists group backs media insurance covering war zones

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The International Federation of Journalists is helping set up a new insurance scheme that also seeks to cover media workers in war zones where insurance can be hard to come by or very expensive.

The IFJ, which represents 600,000 members in 140 countries, announced its backing Tuesday for the scheme by a company called Insurance for Journalists and said it would fill an important void for reporters who are sometimes held back from traveling to war zones because of the financial risks.

Each policy covers accidental death and disablement plus emergency accident and sickness evacuation and repatriation from anywhere in the world to the policy holders' country of residence, the IFJ says in a statement.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger says that careful planning remains important for safe newsgathering, but adds that "no media worker should be excluded from access to a decent and global insurance covering all risks."

In its 25th report on deaths among journalists and media staff, the IFJ said that at least 2,297 media professionals were killed in the 25 years to 2015. A further 93 media workers were killed in 2016 and 29 more died in two plane crashes.

Rates can be requested on Insurance for Journalists' website.