New York, April 25, 2024 – Reporters Shield today named Clothilde Redfern as its new Executive Director. Redfern will assume the role effective May 1, 2024, succeeding Startup Director Peter Noorlander who helped launch Reporters Shield in 2023 and will stay on as an adviser. 

“Reporters Shield is an innovative approach to tackling the urgent problem of abusive lawsuits against journalists and I am excited to lead this bold initiative,” said Redfern. “I will ensure all outlets publishing information in the public interest know they can join Reporters Shield to protect themselves from SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). The law has been weaponized against the press in such a way that it has become almost inevitable that those investigating politics, crime, or corruption will be subjected to a lawsuit designed to cease their reporting. Reporters Shield is an important protective measure to ensure journalists can fulfill their essential role of holding power to account.” 

“We are thrilled that Clothilde will be at the helm of the organization,” said Reporters Shield Board Chair Drew Sullivan. “The media are under increasing threat of abusive lawsuits aimed at silencing them and the work of Reporters Shield, which provides its member organizations with legal defense against SLAPPs, is of ever greater importance. Clothilde brings with her great knowledge and experience of the pressures that journalists work under. She is ideally placed to grow Reporters Shield from its startup phase and ensure that it provides SLAPP defense to as great a number of journalists as possible.”

An experienced media professional, Redfern comes to Reporters Shield having served as Executive Director of the Rory Peck Trust, a non-profit that provides practical and financial support to freelance journalists and their families worldwide. She was previously Director of One World Media, a non-profit that connects filmmakers and journalists, and a media executive and documentary film producer.

Research has shown that the number of SLAPPs brought against journalists and other public watchdogs has increased dramatically throughout 2022 and 2023. While law reform can provide an answer, this is a long process and inevitably imperfect, meaning that practical anti-SLAPP initiatives such as Reporters Shield are of great importance. Reporters Shield accepts members from anywhere in the world, provides them with legal advice for high-risk reports, and pays for lawyers to respond to threats of lawsuits and actual lawsuits up to a maximum of $500,000. 

Reporters Shield signed up its first members at the end of 2023. It has already responded to numerous threats of lawsuits against its members and financed the defense of the first case against one of its members in 2024. Reporters Shield has also been providing its members with pre-publication legal advice for high-risk reports, ensuring that their reporting is solid and robust. 

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