The International Protection of Journalists in Times of Armed Conflict: The Campaign for a Press Emblem
University of Wisconsin
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
War correspondents have long been vulnerable to violence. 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 some journalist advocacy organizations, such as the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), have argued that they existing protections need to be expanded and developed. To that end, the PEC have 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. This article will analyze the current legal protections for journalists, and the perceived deficiencies of those protections for media personnel who operate in conflict zones. This article will also examine the substance of the prototype convention for the protection of journalists and analyze whether such a convention is a necessary and useful addition to the law of armed conflict.