Legislative International Framework to Protect the Journalists in Armed Conflict Zones in the Middle East
Miral Al Ashry*
Political Mass Media, Future University (FUE), Cairo, Egypt
- *Corresponding Author:
- Miral Al Ashry,Associate Professor
Political Mass Media
Future University (FUE)
Tel: +0201222674849 E-mail: email@example.com
Received date: February 10, 2019; Accepted date: February 17, 2019; Published date: February 25, 2019
Citation: Ashry MA. Legislative International Framework to Protect the Journalists in Armed Conflict Zones in the Middle East. Global Media Journal 2019, 17:32. Introduction The
Legislative International Framework, Protect the Journalists, Armed Conflict Zones, War in the Middle East
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The recent war in Middle East is a perfect illustration of the growing risks faced by journalists working in conflict zones. It is therefore important to call renewed attention to the fact that attacks against journalists and media equipment are illegal under international humanitarian law and the Legislative International Framework protecting journalists consists predominantly of International Humanitarian Law, supplemented by International Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law.
In addition, most of the Arab countries after Arab spring revolution 2011 changed the constitution to protect the journalists. In light of the increasing threats in armed conflicts, but the reality is very dangers 1293 journalists liked between years 2011 to 2018 (UNESCO observatory of killed journalists), journalists being a war reporter has become an inherently dangerous task nowadays.
In light of the growing threats in armed conflicts, being a war correspondent has become an inherently dangerous task. Journalists are not only at risk of becoming so-called collateral damage during military operations, they are also increasingly targeted from regimes and terrorists. It is subsequently essential that the international community re-evaluate journalists with laws to protect them in armed conflicts and to allow for better protection and consequently less casualties in the imminent future.
This study aims the protections afforded to journalists by the international laws and d etecting p roposals for enhanced safeguards that are most likely to effectively improve journalists' safety in the conflict zones by laws through a sample of 51 journalists who were subjected to abuses in Middle East war.
In this regard, this study will argue about the legal protections are not enough to protect the journalists so that the study will implement new legislative international framework to save the journalists.
The freedom of expression constitutes one of the fundamental
foundations of a democratic society we can see it in the Middle
East after revolution 2011 with a particular importance to protect
the journalist as one of the basic conditions for press freedom.
Therefore, the legal protection of this right, as it is affirmed in
several international instruments on journalistic freedoms,
deserves considerable attention within the domestic legislation
It is generally accepted that without protection may of the journalists will die or fear from physical safety or job security.
Indeed, it could arguably be one of the most dangerous
occupations in the world, journalists and media professional[s]
make the courageous choice to travel to conflict zones, to cover
the war and telling stories from armed conflicts and the human
cost they entail. Amidst the so-called ‘fog of war’, they play a
vital role in keeping the world informed and ensuring that our
responses are based on the facts and truths unfolding on the
According to the war the region in the Arab States recorded the highest numbers of killings between 2016-2017. In both years,
less than 10% of overall killings took place in Africa, Western
Europe and North America, and Central and Eastern Europe,
respectively. (UNESCO Director-General's Report on the Safety
of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, https://en.unesco.org/
themes/safety-journalists/dgreport/2018) (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Number of Journalists killed by in 2016-2017.
So that we have to find a close link to protect the journalists by
international laws and the maintenance of freedom of expression
can be detected. During armed conflicts and to propose
improvements to the law by the journalists in line with presentday
requirements. In this respect, there is a need to reaffirm
that attacks against journalists is unlawful and to recall that
the authorities in the world in particular Middle East preparing
or deciding on an attack that may affect journalists have an
obligation to take all possible precautions.
The conflict in the Middle East
The Middle East has a great geographic importance located ‘at the
tricontinental hub of Europe, Asia, and Africa’; the Middle East
is birthplace of the three monotheistic religions, rich in history,
and a cradle of cultures and traditions . For this reason, many
European countries have shown ambitions to take the wealth of
the Middle East.
Many countries consider the Middle East as a region filled with
conflicts, violence, and war and rich in political and ideological
ferment, because often these are the news which is offered from
the region. Undoubtedly, the Middle East has its eventful history
colored by battles between local religious groups, tribes, and
Due to the result of these religious and political reasons the Arab
Spring began in Tunisia when Mohammed Bouazizi Tunisian street set himself on fire to protest the arbitrary seizing of his
vegetable stand by police over failure to obtain a permit, this case
reflects the situation of the poor society. Elisabeth Johansson 
So that, the street protests that ensued in Tunis, the country’s
capital, eventually prompted authoritarian president Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali to abdicate his position and flee to Saudi Arabia.
The participants in these grassroots movements sought increased
social freedoms and greater participation in the political process
. Moreover, this includes the Tahrir Square uprisings in Cairo,
Egypt and similar protests in Bahrain, these protests morphed
into full-scale civil wars, as evidenced in countries such as Libya,
Syria and Yemen .
At the same time, great powers, such as the United States and
Russia, do their best to meddle in the business, but in which the
great powers and their allies have their own interest. The interest
can be accessing natural resources such as oil or water, inciting
hatred to gain more havoc and to augment one’s own efforts,
improving relationship with an ally, or anything in between .
The democratization starting from Tunisia in December 2010 has
precipitated the countries into bloody civil wars in which also
great powers have interfered largely. Take Yemen and Syria, for
example . UN has described Yemen’s war as world’s worst
man-made humanitarian crisis, which has left over 22 million
Yemenis in need of assistance [8,9].
So that, the journalists have to coverage the conflict countries,
the most famous examples of modern conflict reporting and
war-correspondence Gulf War in 1990-91 , Then the Arab
Spring 2011.As a result of war coverage, stated Carlsson and
Pöyhtäri , the journalists face many problems such as the
economic resources have an impact on the way of reporting the
Middle Eastern conflicts the lack of time and pressure caused
by haste which result in poor reporting and lack of context.
Moreover, the publishing are disturbed, and self-censorship is performed, monitoring and control, gatekeeping, propaganda –
disinformation, acts of terror, anti-terror laws, criminalization of
encryption and/or anonymity, hate speech and harassment, and
organized crime. These are critical issues in many countries, but
especially in zones facing social, ethnic and political stress, armed
conflicts or disaster situations [12,13]. The journalists are in a
responsible position when reporting conflicts, for they are central
in shaping the public understanding of conflicts and violence .
According to Committee to Protect Journalists, Syria and Iraq
were the deadliest reporting destinations in 2017, 46 journalists
were killed worldwide . International Federation of Journalists
reported worldwide in the first half of yeas 2018, 44 killed. Also,
UNESCO recorded there were over 800 killed during 2006–2015,
the deadliest years were 2012 (124 cases), 2015 (115 cases) and
2014 (98 cases) and 213 journalists lost their lives in 2014–2015,
and the Arab State region due to the conflicts in Yemen, Syria,
Libya and Iraq .
Journalists take huge personal risks while performing their
profession in conflict zones, the majority of them are local
reporters and freelancers the most vulnerable ones .
Høiby and Ottosen  argue that the reduced safety of journalists
working in the conflict zones results in absence of journalists in
such regions. The coverage is more and more based on secondhand
observation, which automatically affects the quality of
journalism and also the Poor security conditions of journalists
undoubtedly lead into situations, in which the objectivity of
journalism is risked, the process of information gathering,
Statistics have demonstrated that approximately 90–95% of
the killed journalists. The rest of the deaths falls upon foreign
correspondents [15,16]. This numbers of deaths should be treated
as estimates, because different organizations and institutions
have their own ways of counting the violations and killings, the
killings are not the only form of violation journalist’s face in their
profession, but we need to save the journalists by International
There is much violence against journalists, the safety and
security are important measures for media organizations and
international organizations that try to protect journalists, but
in conflict situations, such protection is not enough, we need
protection by enforcing international laws to defend journalists
if they were killed or tortured.
Legislative International Framework to Protect the Journalists
Journalists operating from conflict zoned have long been
offered (limited) protection by International Humanitarian
Law (IHL) treaties. One of the first IHL provisions to specifically
mention journalists in high risk can be found in the Project of an
International Declaration concerning the Laws and Customs of
War, Brussels, 27 August 1874.
Art. 13. focused on' forbidden 'Employment of poison or
poisoned weapons; Murder by treachery of individuals belonging
to the hostile nation or army; Murder of an enemy who, having
laid down his arms or having no longer means of defense, has
surrendered at discretion.
The employment of arms, projectiles or material calculated to
cause unnecessary suffering, by the Declaration of St. Petersburg
of 1868; Making improper use of a flag of truce, of the national
flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy, as well as
the distinctive badges of the Geneva Convention; Any destruction
or seizure of the enemy's property that is not imperatively
demanded by the necessity of war. We find that this law will
not be implemented in the Middle East especially that Syria is
suffering from the intensity of the violence.
Since 1874 there have been significant changes to warfare, as
well as to the way’s journalists report on those wars to the public.
Important developments in IHL have followed the major conflicts
in the World War I and World War II led to substantial revisions
in the Laws of War with the Geneva Conventions of July 27,
1929 and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 Article 4: Definition
of protected persons: Persons protected by the Convention are
those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever,
find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands
of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are
not nationals, and is most notable in terms of the widening of
the application of some provisions to non-international armed
conflict, a field IHL had not been previously concerned with, as
will be discussed in paragraph 3.1.3.
In addition, the addition of Convention IV brought a new
application to IHL by seeking protect the civilian population from
the effects of war. They consist of Convention:
• For the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick
in Armed Forces in the Field (Geneva Convention I);
• Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of
Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at
Sea (Geneva Convention II);
• Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War
(hereafter Geneva Convention III); and
• Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in
Time of War (Geneva Convention IV).
They entered into force on the 21st of October 1950 and
currently have 194 state parties and have achieved universal
acceptance the first country in the Middle East it was Lebanon in
10.04.1951, then Jordan in 29.05.1951, Egypt in 10.11.1952,
Syrian Arab Republic in 02.11.1953, Iraq in 14.02.1956, Libya
22.05.1956, Morocco in 26.07.1956, Ireland in 27.09.1962, Saudi
Arabia in18.05.1963, Kuwait in 02.09.1967, Qatar in 15.10.1975,
Palestine in 02.04.2014
According to the article to protection of journalists, the Geneva
Convention III concerned Article 4A(4) and article 13(4) Geneva
Convention I-II , and article 4A(4) they focused on the war
correspondents: journalists who accompany the armed forces
and have been given authorizations by the armed forces to do so.
“Art 13. (4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without
actually being members thereof, such as, war correspondents,
provided that they have received authorization from the armed
forces which they accompany.
This provides war correspondents with the same protection to the journalists in the conflict zone. in that article of the third
Geneva Convention follows the exact the persons, is entitled
to prisoner of war status upon capture, though Article 13 (3)
adds that the members of regular armed forces who profess
allegiance to a Government or an authority not recognized by
the Detaining Power.” Article 13 doesn’t give any protection to
the war correspondents, who would already be receiving the
same care that article 13(4) confers to them, under customary
law. Moreover, there is little difference between civilian or an
‘ordinary’ civilian under Convention IV; if we can see the both
cases focused on the care and protection, they are the same.
Article 4A (4) it’s only the article that concerning war
correspondents they give the rights to them. They are treated to
be as prisoners of war, granting them the full scope of protection
offered under Convention III. But the reality in the Middle East is
different because the countries that have ratified the Convention
are the ones who practice violence against journalists the CPJ
mention that 123 Journalists Killed in Syria.
The article differs from article 81 of Geneva Convention (1929)
about no longer states that war correspondents are entitled to
be treated as prisoners of war, it actually gives them the status of
prisoner of war.
Furthermore, the Conventions I and IV “are covering the whole
field of human suffering but didn’t focused on journalists .Then,
they added additional Protocols in 1977 to deal with some of
the challenges of conflict that had (partly) by the time the 1977
Protocols to the Geneva Convention were drafted, this addition
protect the journalists in conflict zones and they understand the
legal framework which protects journalists. The provisions found
in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols
of 1977 are no longer sufficiently capable of dealing with the
realities and dangers of modern the Middle East conflict.
So that we focused on there are has significant change in the
challenges war correspondents face in the Middle East conflicts
the war is now a chemical weapons war compared to the conflicts
There are several provisions in the Geneva Convention and their
Additional Protocols that protect journalists in conflict zones. But,
they do not concern themselves with journalism and make no
statements on the legality or justification of journalistic activities
in such areas.
After the Iraq war in 2003 and the increasing number of
journalists killed and the frequency of acts of violence, including
deliberate attacks, in many parts of the world against journalists,
media professionals and associated personnel, in armed conflicts,
the Security Council condemned such attacks and published the
resolution 1738 (2006), the Council recalled, “without prejudice to
the journalists war correspondents’ right to the status of prisoners
of war under the Third Geneva Convention, that journalists and
media professionals engaged in dangerous professional missions
in conflict zone shall be considered civilians, to be protected as
such. All parties in situations of conflict were urged to respect the
professional independence and rights of journalists as civilians”.
After 2011, violence increased against the journalists so that the Security Council update the resolution to protect the journalists
in 27 May 2015 Resolution 2222.
The Security Council underlining the importance of taking
measures aimed at conflict prevention and resolution, on the
protection of journalists and media professionals in armed
conflicts as well as other relevant resolutions and presidential
statements, Reaffirming in particular article 79 of the Additional
Protocol I regarding the protection of journalists , Recognizing
that the work of journalists often puts them at specific risk of
intimidation, harassment and violence in situations Reaffirming
that parties to an armed conflict bear the primary responsibility
to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of affected
civilians, including those who exercise their right to freedom of
expression by seeking, receiving and disseminating information by
different ways, in accordance with Article 19 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Recognizing the important
role of international humanitarian law. Freedom of expression is
mentioned in Article 19 of the UDHR. About " Everyone has the
right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes
freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers” and the profession of a journalist – to
seek and impart information – is considered a human right". Also
In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December
1948, about the freedom of expression as a human right in
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16
December 1966, and Article 3 of the UDHR, about “Every human
being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected
by law”. the Art recognized the UDHR forms support the rights of
Moreover, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) protect the human rights and journalists thought the right
to life, from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment, and from arbitrary arrest or detention and they give
them support by legal frame work right to freedom of expression.
But the exceptions to the human rights of war journalists’ states
are able to shirk of their responsibility by two different ways.
Article 4" In time of public emergency which threatens the life
of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed.
We can see the derogation of certain human rights and freedoms
is meant as an ‘exceptional and temporary’ measure, like the
emergency case in the Syria armed conflict know in that case
of a ‘public emergency’ In addition the county should following
conditions must be satisfied:
• Firstly, the principle entails that solely measures that are strictly
• Secondly, does not give a free pass to neglect other international
• Thirdly, derogation is not allowed from all human rights.
A state and its military can, therefore, not use Article 4 of the
ICCPR to remove war journalists. But the realty it’s not seems like
that a thousand journalists are arrested, the war journalist must
be brought before a court to decide upon the lawfulness of his/
In Article 19, paragraph 3 of the ICCPR it is stated that restrictions
to the right to freedom of expression are permitted." Everyone
shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
This article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It
may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall
only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order, or of
public health or morals.
On 18 December 2013 General Assembly Resolution adopted
report of the Third Committee 68/163 about the safety of
journalists and the issue of impunity the General Assembly,
United Nations agencies, funds and programmes were invited to
work with Member States towards a free and safe environment
for journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict
situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and
Research Design and Method
In order to collect data, the current study uses semi-structured
interviews. An interview guide will be developed and applied
in each country studied, allowing for some minor flexibility
according to the specific conditions of the two sites of study.
Thus, to base the global understanding of the media element of
the ‘Legislative International Framework "on key international
legal documents. Such normative texts serve as a source of study
and present a valid reflection of the ideas, beliefs and concepts
shared by many, while accord on their meaning is usually
reached by agreement that results from viewpoint journalists
to put a legislative policy framework to protect the journalists
will be based on the current transitional situation, including
media practices, protection of journalists in Middle East in armed
The Problem of the Study
journalists suffer all forms of violence against them, but they are
choose to work bravely, in several different ways, given dangers
that define the news business in this region, including dangers
from active civil wars, guerrilla and militia groups, terrorism
like ISIS, foreign military occupations and armies, political
intimidation, and the power of mass public opinion. While
there is heroism in working in the face of all these threats, and
confront the control mechanisms of their ruling power structure.
They defy existing rules, run against the grain of prevailing
public opinion, raise unpleasant issues for public discussion, and
demand that public or official power be exercised equitably and
humanely, according to internationally accepted standards of
democratic pluralism and human rights. Hundreds of journalists
who have acted with such courage have been jailed, threatened,
intimidated and even killed after the Arab spring revolutions.
Several prominent journalists have recently been killed or injured
in bomb attacks in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.
The problem of the study focused on the law didn’t protect the
journalist’s and the journalists developed new legal framework to save them. The result is a rather complicated legal framework
that is not always easy to apply in practice from conflict zone most
of the countries in the Middle East they didn’t have government
because Terrorist groups controlled most of the region it’s not
easy to apply this laws. According to that, the journalists want
to develop an updated legislative framework that works for all
countries and if States abandon this law, the state will try an
This study from the point of view of correspondent’s war who
works in the conflict zone they want to apply these laws from
their point of view not from the perspective of international
The Research Questions
conflict zone and the legal framework will protect them, evaluate
aspects which are unclear, explore to what extent it falls short
in providing the necessary protection and consider the scope
for addressing any potential shortfalls through the creation of a
dedicated convention for the protection of journalists. It will do
this through the following research question:
RQ1. What is the demographic profile of journalist’s war
RQ2. The extent of knowledge of some legal texts related to the
work of journalists in international conventions.
RQ3. The adequacy of previous conventions to protect the
journalists in armed conflict.
RQ4. The forms of protection that journalists want to develop it
and they needs the international laws to be observed.
RQ5. The importance of the following proposals to protect
journalists in armed conflict.
RQ6. The knowledge of the most important laws governing their
RQ7. The violations against journalists and restrictions on press
RQ8. Developing a legal framework to protect the journalists.
The Aims of the Study
The aim of the research, a combination of qualitative (semistructured
interviews, desk research), and quantitative
(bibliometric analysis, survey) research methods were employed
in order to generate as rich a data set as possible. The term ‘mixed
strategy research’ is about combining quantitative and qualitative
research. But Denscombe focused on, different kinds of data can
be produced by adopting a mixed method approach, to provide
a base line for protection, which solely seeks to protect the lives
of journalists through a legal framework, on which further and
wider protection subsequently can be built to develop the issues
relating to journalistic content and freedom of speech and the
study focused on the further limited to the approach taken to
protecting journalists at the international level and does not
significantly engage with domestic legislation, trying to develop
a new legal framework to protect journalists through in-depth interviews. 51 interviews were conducted, from “Yemen, Syria,
Egypt, Libya, Iraqi, Jordan, Algeria Tunisia, Morocco and Palestine
Findings of the Study
The findings of this study are organized based on the order of the
items listed in the questionnaire.
According to the gender 46 male with percentage 90.2% and 5
female with percentage 9.8% and the age between 30 to 40 years
with 54.9% and from 40 to less than 50 years 35.3%, Moreover,
5.9% by less than 30 years and 50 years or more with 3.9% about
the educational level, 70.6% journalists have MB, while 29.4%
they have got mast and Ph.D.
The work of journalists, all journalists were war correspondents,
of which the chief editor was 43.1%, the photographer 11.8%, the
war correspondent 9.8%, the independent war correspondent
25.5% and the editor the 9.8%.
Number of years of experience from 5 to less than 15 years was
64.7%, followed by 15 for less than 25 years, the proportion was
25.5% and the proportion was equal less than 5 years and 25
years and above, reaching 5.9% and 3.9%.
Nationality, 41.2% were Yemeni journalists, and the proportion of
Syrian and Egyptian journalists was 13.7%. The Libyan journalist
was 11.8% and 5.9% were Iraqi journalists and 3.9% were
Jordanian journalists. And 2% for Algerian, Tunisian, Moroccan,
Sudanese and Palestinian journalists (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Extent of knowledge of international law.
The graph shows the journalists didn’t know any information
about the international laws with percentage 52.9% this means
we need to raise awareness about international law to protect
journalists (Figure 3).
Figure 3: The extent of law enforcement in times of armed conflict.
The journalists said not enabled to know law enforcement in times of armed conflict with ratio 51% because law enforcement
encompasses following basic of responsibilities: maintaining
public order and security, preventing and detecting crime, and
To fulfill their mission, law enforcement officials exercise the
following basic powers: arrest, detention, search and seizure,
and the use of force and firearms. However, in the Middle East
the armed forces are usually neither trained nor equipped for
such tasks (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Knowledge and background about the definition of
journalist in international law.
The journalists said we have some information about the
definition of international law with proportion 47.1% they
said we just only got training about freedom of expression
and media freedom as a precondition for development of the
democratic relations in the society; - Media pluralism and media
concentration; - Regulation of the content of programmed; - The
right to privacy and protection of personal data; - Regulation of
defamation and protection of journalistic sources, notification
of court proceedings and the right to reply and correct, but we
didn’t know the international legal framework to protect the
journalists in the Middle East (Figure 5).
Figure 5: The extent of knowledge of some legal texts related to
the work of journalists in international conventions.
The graph shows the journalists know Convention (III) relative
to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949
the journalists said we know about Article 4 / A 4 to the war
correspondents who accompany the armed forces without being
part of them without giving a definition to the journalist, with
percentage 64.1%, the second rank with 62.7% its focused-on
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions 1949. The third
rank by 60.1 about Geneva Convention (1929). With Article 81
states that individuals who follow the armed forces without
directly belonging thereto. 56.9% about Hague Convention IV in (18 October 1907) Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs
of War on Land the journalists know about Art. 13 (Figure 6).
Figure 6: The adequacy of previous conventions to protect the
journalists in armed conflict.
Journalists said the laws were not enough to protect journalists.
Because these agreements since the Second World War, but
there have been changes in the Arab countries and there have
been wars that led to the killing of one thousand journalists and
citizens and the displacement of millions. Therefore, we need to
re-amend the laws to bring them into line with current conditions
for the protection of journalists.
The forms of protection that journalists want to develop it and
they needs the international laws to be observed.
The journalists want to develop new legislation laws in the
Middle East so that most of the journalists put articles and they
need the international organization to implement it. According to
the questioner the Egyptian journalists said:
We need in our laws put article to protect the journalists and
develop the work environment of the journalist. The most
important thing the reporters need to put a code of ethics
that provides for the cooperation of all governmental and nongovernmental
entities in providing security in regard to the
journalist's information that may endanger him. Journalists
should not be harassed and harassed while trying to obtain
information. Tighten sanctions against governments or any
organization targeting journalists and arresting them.
Yemeni journalists mention, “We need protection: Protection
against all forms of physical and moral restrictions, violence
and abuse, protection of families of journalists, ensuring access
to information, protection against all forms of professional
blackmail and moral assassination of journalists, correspondents
and opinion writers. Pressure by all means to activate laws
through international organizations”.
There should be laws that all parties are committed to protect
journalists in areas of conflict, Yemen is now suffering from wars
and no one can stop the arrests every day.
Syrian journalists said, “Developing, monitoring and implementing
laws in Syria There is no international support to protect the
journalists. Granting the journalist immunity and guarantees
of his safety and freedom by all the organs of the state. Not to
be subjected to coercion, assassinations and the establishment
of a law of physical protection. Forming a special committee to
follow up on violations of press freedoms. Adopting conventions
of honor and protection treaties for journalists. The existence of
laws of protection but not effective we need now after the wars
of the Middle East.”
Moroccan journalists assured: “There are rules for protection in
accordance with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention
of 1949, the Additional Protocol I, the Second Protocol of 1977
on Non-International Conflicts and the UN Security Council
Resolution 1738 of 2006. However, in 2019 there is no single law
for the protection of journalists in the Middle East since 2011,
despite the increasing numbers of journalists killed and Moroccan
journalists, they want to develop a modern international law to
develop forms of protection”.
Iraqi journalists confirmed: “The Arab world must be reformed
the way it is judged first. International organizations must
intervene and stop the war.”
To assess the reality of the press work is linked to the extent
of freedoms, even the authorities have media and without
evaluation is possible to be the facade of any media power in
the media is absent in the work must protect the journalist and
immunity and work to force the application of laws to protect
A Libyan journalist says that we need implementation of
the agreements. “Developing the internal system of media
institutions through monitoring institutions with journalists. Set
a clear definition of the war correspondent with clear procedures
for how to protect them. Provide international protection and
rescue the journalist for his family when he arrested by the local
authorities in the country where he works”.
Two editor journalists said unfortunately, it is impossible to
develop in the Middle East because the journalist has hundreds of
red lines and therefore he has to work within the laws set by the
ruling or the ruling parties. Review the current legal legislation.
We need a law dedicated to journalists under international law
or a constitution to protect the Libyan state.
Algerian journalists want to provide financial and psychological
support and even changing the place of residence for reasonable
periods so that the journalist can regain his ability to pursue
his work. Enacting advanced laws, teaching soldiers the basics
of protecting journalists and including protecting journalists in
Tightening the punishment for the aggressor against journalists,
especially security men. Develop laws to protect and defend the
Physical protection; protection from detention, protection from
incitement, insulting, defamation, and protection of the source
of material rights of the journalist. As we know that most of the
laws do not work during the wars. What is required is to try to
include deterrent decisions of the aggressors to journalists,
regardless of their affiliation or condition.
Jordanian journalists: In addition to international laws, there
should be domestic legislation at the national level to protect
journalists and limit their targeting.
The majority of Arab countries do not have laws that protect
journalists, and a journalist can be arrested or detained simply
to write his opinion and express it. Trying to quit journalism
and developing a content monitoring mechanism so that the
journalist will not continue to use the values of democracy.
Correspondents are treated as ICRC Red Cross personnel:
There must be protection in wars with a definition of the journalist
with a penalty for those who harm the journalist.
The role of the journalist in obtaining information and protecting
the media in the conflict zones and not using the media in
A Tunisia journalists definite monitor the situation of journalists
at risk and communicate with them and provide opportunities for
return to work. Protection from targeting and arrest and granting
him genuine freedom of press. Developing laws to ensure that all
restrictions are lifted before the journalist's work.
On the other hand, Palestinian journalists interviewed said
activating the role of monitoring the implementation of the
agreements and activating the protection laws and monitoring
their implementation. Journalists should get training courses to
working in conflict zones. Securing, resettling, protecting and
assisting independent journalists and their families to get out of
conflict areas. Ensure access to information to serve the work of
humanitarian organizations and ensure the activation of laws.
There must be clear laws in the Arab constitutions that protect
At the end Ahmed Hasan Egyptian war correspondent he covered
the conflict zones in many places such as Libya, Tunisia, Iraq and
Syria he summarizes what the journalists need:
Protection of freedom of expression and right to information
Protection of freedom of movement Security of journalists.
Provide all means of security and safety for them and not to
be exposed to them while exercising. A law requiring military
forces to commit to special plans for the protection of their
accompanying military correspondents who were not part of
them in the case of military operations against terrorist groups
known to kill journalists who are not recognized by international
law and its provisions,
As well as the presence of armed escorts throughout his presence
in liberated areas suspect and the presence of some terrorist
elements. He was given the right to access information on
military concentration areas, the frontline map and minefields,
to help him escape in the event of military disasters (Figure 7).
Figure 7: The importance of the following proposals to protect
journalists in armed conflict.
There are many proposals to protect the security of journalists in the conflict zone, according to what is important for them in the
Middle East. The first percentage with 98.7% about “The urgent
need for additional international humanitarian instruments
to ensure better protection for journalists in areas of armed
conflict”, and “the State bears full responsibility for the actions
of its armed forces as provided for in article 7 of the draft articles
on State responsibility for illegal international acts”. The third
rank with 97.4% it’s about.” Individuals who commit crimes
against journalists during armed conflict, whatever the reasons.
These crimes are considered war crimes because journalists
are civilians according to the content of the Fourth Geneva
Conventions of 1949, Protect the media as a civic institution, not
to target the civic sites and even areas of UNESCO's activities
and the media and its institutions and the role of journalists in
obtaining information related to armed conflicts to enlighten
peoples. The last proportions with 93.8%%do not use the media
for propaganda purposes.
Evaluate journalists for their knowledge of the most important
laws governing their professional work:
Do journalists have knowledge of the most important laws
governing their professional work? (Figure 8). The journalists
said we have some extent information about the laws with
percentage 58.8% and we need more courses to know every
think about international laws the last rate with 3.9% two
journalists from Libya hey didn’t have any information about the
laws they said how can we know about this information even
though there is no constitution so far since the revolution and
we didn’t have national government? This is not a country we
hope that international organizations protect and enforce the
laws (Figure 9).
Figure 8: Knowledge of the most important laws governing
Figure 9: The violations against journalists and restrictions on press freedom (N=51).
Most of the journalists suffered from the effects war on press
freedoms harassment and detention with percentage 82.4% and
they said there are no new laws to protect journalists with 66.7%.
Moreover, 2% with violations against the journalists and the
constitution of each Arab country does not protect journalists,
because the Middle East countries do have constitutions that
pay tribute to the values of freedom of speech and information,
but in reality, these protections are often superseded by laws
that criminalize press commentary that, according to these
regimes, insults the political leadership, breeds “hate,” supports
“terrorism,” or threatens national security. The methods employed to enforce a regime of censorship vary from the
downright thuggish to more nuanced tactics. The absence of
outright violence does not necessarily signify that a country
enjoys a freer media landscape than a country where journalists
are regularly murdered (Table 1).
Table 1 : Threats face the journalists in armed conflict zone.
|Face the journalists
|Imprisonment or police custody
|Kidnapping and enforced disappearance
|Harmful exposure to family journalists
|Censorship of journalists
|Refusing the movement of journalists within conflict zones
|Personal and professional defamation
|Concern over the frequency of violence against journalists
|Risks associated with military operations
|To obstruct journalists from performing their media duties in times of armed conflict
Majority of journalists said we have got obstruct journalists from
performing their media duties in times of armed conflict with
93.5%, then 88.2% the regime used censorship. Censorship is a
policy used by governments to retain control over their people
by preventing the public from viewing information considered
by the republic as holding the potential to incite a rebellion. The
majority of nations in the Middle East censor the media, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and, United Arab
Emirates, and the government owns all forms of media and only
reports good news or propaganda. Also, the journalists said the
government used harassment against the journalists with 87.6%.
On the other hand, 86.9% with risks associated with military
operations, the lowest percentage with 75.2% harmful exposure
to family journalists. Safeguards that must be guaranteed and
guaranteed by the international conventions for the protection
of journalists (Table 2 and Figure 10).
Table 2: International conventions should guarantee articles to protect journalists.
|Face the journalists
|Rights and freedoms guaranteed by the new constitution of the Arab States
|Freedom of ideas without Censorship
|Rights and freedoms guaranteed by the new constitution of the Arab States
|Freedom to cover the news in army conflict zones and send the information to the public.
|Every journalist has the right to issue the news, and the states must respect this right
|The right to express opinion without fear
|Journalists are not detained by regime forces or by terrorist groups
|The non-exercise of physical abuse against journalists and those exercising this right will be subject to international arbitration
Figure 10: International conventions should guarantee articles to protect journalists.
The majority of the journalists should guarantee articles to
protect journalists 97.4% with the right to express opinion
without fear, then 96.7% with the non-exercise of physical abuse against journalists and those exercising this right will be subject
to international arbitration and Journalists are not detained by
regime forces or by terrorist groups.
Furthermore, 96.1% with rights and freedoms guaranteed by
the new constitution of the Arab States, and 94.8% with every
journalist has the right to issue the news, and the states must
respect this right. The last percentage with 94.1% by freedom to
cover the news in army conflict zones and send the information
to the public.
Conclusions: Developing a Legal
Framework to Protect the Journalists
As a point of departure in this research, we raised the concern
that the threats and dangers facing journalists covering conflicts
represent a threat in the long run so that the journalists develop
new legal framework and they need international laws to take
Individuals who commit crimes against journalists during armed
conflict, whatever the reasons, are considered war crimes because
journalists are civilians according to the content of the Fourth
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocol of 1977.
But after the war on the Middle East, the journalists found the
react to the activation of a new substance and put it in the annex
to the Protocol 2019.
‘Prevent the arrest, threat and killing of journalists as "Anyone
who commits crimes against journalists or any of the acts set
forth in the preceding articles of international conventions shall
be punished in accordance with international law.
As well as compel governments to respect signed laws and
conventions for journalists. Immunities must be granted to
independent journalists in conflict zones. Implementation a
code of international honor that respects the rights of journalists
and allows them to exercise their work. The Implementation of
the law of free circulation of information to all Arab countries,
allowing to transmission of information to the public.
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