Reporters Without Borders

Borrowing bulletproof vests, helmets and distress beacons

Borrowing bulletproof vests, helmets and distress beacons

Published on Thursday 19 March 2015. Updated on Tuesday 1 December 2015.
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Reporters Without Borders (RSF) lends bulletproof vests and helmets at no cost to journalists travelling to dangerous areas.

Donated by the French defence ministry and national gendarmerie and by two companies, EnGarde and SafeGuard Armor, these Category IV bulletproof vests weigh about 15 kg and can be borrowed by leaving a cheque for €2,000 as a deposit. The “PRESS” sign on the back can be modified on some models.

As well as providing a deposit, borrowers must also be or become RSF members. Khaki-coloured composite helmets weighing about 1.5 kg may be borrowed subject to the same conditions (with a deposit of €500).

RSF also lends one personal distress beacon. Provided by the company Sierra Echo, it is small and light, and is equipped with a GPS location system that allows emergency services to locate the bearer anywhere in the world in an emergency. A deposit of €1,000 is required.

Journalists borrowing any of these items must also fill out a form specifying where they are going, providing their contact details and providing the contact details of the person who should be notified if necessary.

To request one of more of the items in this protection pack for journalists, email RSF at The equipment is only available from RSF headquarters in Paris. The maximum duration of a loan is one month.

RSF’s Swedish section, Reportrar utan gränser, has three EnGarde Category IV bulletproof vests available for loan. For more information, go to the Reportrar utan gränser website or send an email to

Download description of SafeGuard Armor




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