Protecting Journalists

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Perhaps the safety of journalists in armed conflicts is finally moving up the international agenda. Since the bombing of media outlets in (ex) Yugoslavia there has been increased awareness about the conscious targeting of news organisation and their employees. During the initial stages of the Iraq conflict (2003-) the US bombed the offices of Al Jazeera, leading to a short flurry of outrage which soon subsided. Later in the conflict there was discussion about whether journalists should carry arms and/or defend themselves if under attack. Again this dissipated. Yet journalists have since become even more vulnerable. 160 have been killed in Iraq since 2003 (not including unnofficial ‘citizen’ journalists). 110 journalists have been killed worldwide so far this year.
So it’s welcome that a few days ago the United Nations passed Resolution 1738 urging countries to become much more aware of the role of journalists and the need to promote and ensure their safety in conflict situations. Right now it’s rhetoric, but it does send a clear message – not least to democratic States who need to set an example.

Written by Martin Moore

December 27th, 2006 at 10:41 pm

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