Screenshot of Media Bloggers Association homepage
US organisation the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) has launched a scheme to give bloggers the same access to legal support as traditional media organisations.

The initiative includes BlogInsure, a form of liability insurance for bloggers, which will cover parties against defamation claims, allegations of copyright infringement and invasion of privacy 'arising out of blogging activities', MBA said in an announcement.

The insurance package is available through Media/Professional Insurance and will cover cost and damages incurred from such claims.

"The past few years have seen unprecedented changes in the media landscape," said Robert Cox, co-founder and president of the MBA.

"From a handful of bloggers in 2000, to tens of millions today, bloggers have been granted full press credentials, broken major news stories, and dethroned high-profile politicians and media figures. With that success has come greater scrutiny and the inevitable rise in legal threats facing bloggers.

"In this new environment, blogger access to education, training, legal advisory services and liability insurance is critical to the sustainability of a strong and vibrant citizen media."

The association has also developed a freely available, online course in media law aimed at bloggers and online publishers, in partnership with the Poynter Institute's News University and the Citizen Media Law Project.

Though bloggers are not required to be MBA members before taking the course, the assessment will become part of the organisation's new membership application process.

A further course assessment for members will result in a 'significant discount' on BlogInsure for bloggers, the MBA said.

MBA members who purchase the insurance will also have access to media experts through an online 'legal hotline' launched in beta and operated by law firm Sonneschein Nath and Rosenthal LLP.

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