The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called for urgent action for the safety of journalists operating in situations of armed conflict.
Mr. Aliyu Dawobe, the ICRC’s public relations officer, made the appeal in Kano on Friday during a two-day meeting
workshop for humanitarian media reporting in an article he presented on journalists and international humanitarian law (IHL).
Dawobe said most of the time, journalists working in places of armed conflict end up becoming victims themselves.
He said journalists must be protected and respected as they are protected by IHL.
“By the very nature of their work, they are inevitably exposed to the dangers inherent in military operations.
“Instead of running away from the fight, they are looking for it. It is often said that the first casualty of war is the truth.
“Accurate and unbiased media reporting from conflict zones serves a fundamental public interest: in the information age, images and information can have a decisive impact on the outcome of armed conflict.
“All detained journalists must be treated with humanity and dignity in all circumstances.
“They must be protected against any act of violence, as well as against intimidation, insults and must be guaranteed decent conditions of detention,” he said.
Dawobe said journalists need to be informed about how they are protected by law.
“Journalists who also participate directly in hostilities lose their protection against attacks and may be targeted.
“Journalists should cover events more independently and avoid contributing to war propaganda.
“Journalists who belong to the military press are combatants and must also be protected,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IHL is a set of rules aimed at limiting the effects of armed conflict.
It defines the responsibilities of States and non-State armed groups during an armed conflict. It defines, among other things: the rapid and unhindered passage of humanitarian aid in armed conflicts.
IHL offers protection to all journalists as CIVILIANS.
war correspondents are also entitled to prisoner of war status when captured in an international armed conflict.
Members of Military Press are combatants and enjoy protection as such under IHL. (NOPE)