Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MBA launches comprehensive programme

New York-based advocate group for bloggers, the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) weekend announced the launching of a comprehensive programme to provide bloggers access to the same sort legal and financial resources available to traditional media organizations including BlogInsure, a first of its kind liability insurance programme for bloggers which provides coverage for all forms of defamation, invasion of privacy and copyright infringement or similar allegations arising out of blogging activities.

A blog is an abbreviated version of “weblog,” a term connoting web sites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information and those involve in this have become known as bloggers.

Co-founder and President of the Media Bloggers Association, Mr. Robert Cox, said in a press statement, the cornerstone of the new programme is an online course in media law developed by the MBA in partnership with the Poynter Institute’s News University.

The course, Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers, was co-authored by David Ardia of the Citizen Media Law Project, which is jointly affiliated with Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Center for Citizen Media and Geanne Rosenberg of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism and Baruch College. Whereas Scott Swift of Media/Professional Insurance created an assessment to evaluate the student’s understanding of the material.

“The past few years have seen unprecedented changes in the media landscape,” he said, stressing that 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 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,” Cox said.

He explained that because the MBA believes so strongly that all bloggers should take this course, it is made available at no charge and, although the course is an integral part of the new MBA membership application process, bloggers are not required to join the MBA to take the course.

“Payment of annual dues for MBA membership is not requested until after the course has been completed and bloggers may opt-out of the application process at any time,” he said.

Cox explained that after completing the exam, bloggers would be asked to take a course assessment; while the exam is a prerequisite for individuals interested in joining the MBA so those wishing to join must opt to report their test scores to the MBA.

“It is also the basis for the significant discount on liability insurance available to bloggers through the BlogInsure programme,” he said.

MBA president further explained that by joining the association, individuals have the exclusive opportunity to purchase liability insurance for bloggers through media/professional Insurance, a business unit of the select markets division of AXIS Insurance.

“Insurance will cover costs and damages for claims of defamation, copyright infringement and privacy violation. Media Professional Insurance (MPI), the largest underwriter of media liability insurance in the world, has offered media liability coverage for publishers and broadcasters since 1979, protecting against claims of defamation and infringement,” he said.

“As a leader with over 30 years experience protecting free-speech, it is a natural progression to offer coverage for emerging media such as blogs” according to the Chairman of Media/Professional Insurance, Leib Dodell, pointing out that affordable, readily available and easily accessible coverage was critical in development of the programme.

“Our web-based format allows those interested in BlogInsure to apply, pay for, and get coverage at the click of a button,” he said.

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