The international protection of journalists in times of armed conflict : the campaign for a press emblem
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Wisconsin international law journal, Vol. 32, no. 1, Spring 2014, p. 1-36
Emily Crawford and Kayt Davies
War correspondents have long been vulnerable to violence, by dint of their profession. Embedded amongst military units, or else unilaterally venturing into war zones, journalists who seek to cover events in conflict areas knowingly place themselves at risk of injury or death by their acts. The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I – both of which regulate international armed conflicts – offer some protections for journalists during times of international armed conflict, but the increasingly amorphous character of twenty-first century armed conflicts has meant that journalists most often find themselves reporting on non-international armed conflicts, or conflicts that do not meet the threshold of armed conflict under international law. Recently, an international campaign, emanating from journalist advocacy organizations, has argued for the introduction of an internationally protected and recognized emblem, similar to the Red Cross emblem, as a means by which journalists can be identified as persons deserving special protection. The Press Emblem would be part of a larger convention geared towards the protection of journalists in armed conflict situations. Therefore, this article will examine the reasons behind the call for special protections, analyze and examine the current legal protections for journalists, and the perceived deficiencies of those protections, for media personnel who operate in conflict zones. This article will examine the substance of the prototype convention for the protection of journalists and analyze whether such a convention is indeed a necessary and useful addition to the law of armed conflict.