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Many journalists travel with little or no knowledge of the region or of the application of local or international law, and without an awareness of their own rights as independent, neutral observers. Few staff are able to quote the relevant protocols of the Geneva Conventions and humanitarian law that define the rights of non-combatants.
Journalists should be briefed on the political and legal conditions of the region. They should know about the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations agencies and regional political bodies before they leave home.
Here are the main treaties, recommendations and resolution on the protection of journalists in war zone:
The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are part of international humanitarian law – a whole system of legal safeguards that cover the way wars may be fought and the protection of individuals.
They specifically protect people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, chaplains, aid workers and journalists) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).
The Conventions and their Protocols call for measures to be taken to prevent (or put an end to) what are known as "grave breaches"; those responsible for breaches must be punished.
The Geneva Conventions have been acceded to by 194 States and enjoy universal acceptance.
The Council of Europe has been involved on the Protection of Journalists in Situations of Conflict and Tension since a long time.