Egypt Insurance – special cover for journalists?

24 June 2014

Today the international community is united in condemnation of a Cairo court that that has found three Al-Jazeera journalists guilty of spreading false news and supporting a terrorist organisation.

Peter Greste (an Australian national), ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy and local producer Baher Mohamed were arrested last December after they reported on a demonstration held by the Muslim Brotherhood. Since then they have been held, largely in solitary confinement, at Cairo’s Tora prison. Yesterday they received seven to 10-year jail sentences, along with a number of other journalists who were tried in absentia. 

“Chilling and draconian”

The verdict came at the end of a trial riddled with inconsistencies, retracted witness statements and procedural errors. "On the basis of the evidence that we've seen, we can't understand the verdict," said Ralph King, the Australian ambassador in Cairo.

David Cameron has described the verdict as “completely appalling”, while John Kerry, the US secretary of State has called it “chilling and draconian.” 

64 journalists detained in less than a year

Since the Egyptian military seized power last July, more than 64 journalists have been detained, and news reporters have found it increasingly difficult, and indeed dangerous, to do their job properly. 

Third most dangerous country for journalists

Many complain of being violently targeted by both security forces and supporters of the ousted President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Last year, Egypt was ranked the third most dangerous country for journalists by the US-based NGO Committee to Protect Journalists.

High-risk insurance recommended

In view of the potential dangers, anyone working in Egypt as a journalist or as part of a news or media organisation should ensure they have specialist insurance. 

While we appreciate that this can’t provide protection in the event of arrest by the authorities, given the level and range of other risks, robust and comprehensive personal accident, medical evacuation, disability and life cover are strongly advised. Kidnap and ransom cover might be worth consideration. 

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