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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)
Cairo, Egypt
Tel: +0201222674849 E-mail: [email protected]

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 of countries.

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 ground.

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, 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.

Literature Review

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 [1]. 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 ethnicities [2].

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 [3] 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 [4]. 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 [5].

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 [6].

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 [7]. 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 [10], Then the Arab Spring 2011.As a result of war coverage, stated Carlsson and Pöyhtäri [11], 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 [14].

According to Committee to Protect Journalists, Syria and Iraq were the deadliest reporting destinations in 2017, 46 journalists were killed worldwide [15]. 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 [16].

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 [17].

Høiby and Ottosen [18] 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 Laws [19].

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 fought pre-1977.

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 war journalists.

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 necessary

• Secondly, does not give a free pass to neglect other international obligations

• 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/ her detention.

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 development worldwide.

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 conflict zones.

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 international trial.

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 organizations.

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 correspondents?

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 professional work.

RQ7. The violations against journalists and restrictions on press freedom.

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 journalists”.

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 providing assistance.

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 journalists.

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 university curricula.

Tightening the punishment for the aggressor against journalists, especially security men. Develop laws to protect and defend the journalist.

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 propaganda work.

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 journalists.

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 professional work.


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 Always Sometimes Rarely Relative weight
Physical liquidation 26 23 2 82.4%
51% 45.1% 3.9%
Imprisonment or police custody 31 20 - 86.9%
61.8% 39.2% -
Kidnapping and enforced disappearance 26 24 1 83%
51% 47.1% 2%
Harmful exposure to family journalists 18 28 5 75.2%
35.3% 54.9% 9.8%
Censorship of journalists 34 16 1 88.2%
66.6% 31.4% 2%
Harass them 35 13 3 87.6%
68.6% 25.5% 5.9%
Refusing the movement of journalists within conflict zones 29 17 5 82.4%
56.9% 33.3% 9.8%
Personal and professional defamation 27 18 6 80.4%
52.9% 35.3% 11.8%
Concern over the frequency of violence against journalists 31 19 1 86.3%
60.7% 37.3% 2%
Risks associated with military operations 32 18 1 86.9%
62.7% 35.3% 2%
To obstruct journalists from performing their media duties in times of armed conflict 41 10 - 93.5%
80.4% 19.6% -

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 Always Sometimes Rarely Relative weight
Rights and freedoms guaranteed by the new constitution of the Arab States 45 3 3 94.1%
88.2% 5.9% 5.9%
Freedom of ideas without Censorship 44 6 1 94.8%
86.2% 11.8% 2%
Rights and freedoms guaranteed by the new constitution of the Arab States 45 6 - 96.1%
88.2% 11.8% -
Freedom to cover the news in army conflict zones and send the information to the public. 43 7 1 94.1%
84.3% 13.7% 2%
Every journalist has the right to issue the news, and the states must respect this right 44 6 1 94.8%
86.3% 11.8% 2%
The right to express opinion without fear 47 4 97.4%
92.2% 7.8%
Journalists are not detained by regime forces or by terrorist groups 46 5 96.7%
90.2% 9.8%
The non-exercise of physical abuse against journalists and those exercising this right will be subject to international arbitration 46 5 96.7%
90.2% 9.8%

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 into consideration:

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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