Thursday, August 19, 2021
The Freedom of Speech and Expression Programme of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue on Thursday, August 19, 2021, issues a report entitled “Journalists in Armed Conflict”
The report discusses the difficulties and violations that journalists experience while practising their jobs in areas of armed conflict. The report covers what armed conflicts are and their types as well as the rights of journalists working in those areas under international laws and treaties. The report additionally mentions the efforts of non-governmental organisations to help protect journalists’ rights. The report then discusses the violations to which they are subjected daily. The report finally concludes with examples of cases of abuse in countries experiencing armed conflict in 2020 and 2021, as the journalism industry remains fertile ground for many human rights violations.
Concerning efforts to protect the rights of photojournalists and reporters, the report notes that in recent years, efforts to protect journalists of all kinds had increased significantly because of the serious risks they could face because of the nature of their work. The protection of journalists has been emphasized in many regional and international laws and treaties, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, the Geneva Conventions and its first additional protocol and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as many resolutions adopted by the Human Rights Council and the United Nations Security Council in addition to the great efforts by NGOs such as Reporters Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Journalists.
With regard to human rights violations faced by photojournalists and reporters, the report states that journalists were often subjected to violence, abuse, fear, brutality, sexual harassment, arbitrary arrests, imprisonment, threats, abductions, torture and discrimination because of their gender, race, race, class or ability in addition tom confiscating and destroying filmed material and cameras to confine the publishing of facts.
The report also mentions that 39% of journalist deaths in 2019 occurred in countries experiencing armed conflict.
The report then showcases 74 cases of violations of journalists in areas of armed conflict in 17 countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Palestine and Syria.
Reem ElBorolossy, who is in charge of the organisation’s The Freedom of Speech and Expression Programme, states that those affected by armed conflict will only be protected when a clearer definition of journalists is added to the texts of international law in addition to adding legal provisions to protect journalists in areas of armed conflict.
The report concludes with a number of findings:
•The report shows that out of the seventy-four reported cases, sixty-one of them were violations against men while the other thirteen was targeted towards women.
•Five types of violations have been reported with murder taking the lead with forty-five cases followed by nineteen arrests, seven cases of assault, two injuries and a case of kidnapping.
•Afghanistan takes the lead with the countries in which the violations occurred eighteen cases followed by Mexico and Palestine with ten then Syria with nine reported cases.