|dc.description.abstract||Journalists reporting from conflict zones are increasingly at risk of injury or death.
Not only are they at risk of becoming a casualty in the crossfire, they are now often
directly targeted and killed because of their profession. The legal framework
protecting journalists in conflict zones consists predominantly of International
Humanitarian Law, supplemented by International Human Rights Law and
International Criminal Law. The main body of law providing protection to journalists
consists of the Geneva Conventions and their additional Protocols, which are now
several decades old. Since their drafting, there have been significant changes in the
way we conduct wars, as well as in the way journalists operate and report from
conflict zones. This raises the question whether this legal framework is still suitable
for the protection of journalists in contemporary conflicts.
This thesis confirms that the legal framework contains, at least in theory, a
significant number of provisions that continue to provide protection for journalists in
conflict zones. What is clear, however, is that there are significant differences in the
protection awarded to journalists based on the type of journalist, for example whether
they are embedded or function independently in conflict zones, the type of conflict
they are covering and even their nationality. The result is a rather complicated legal
framework that is not always easy to apply in practice.
It has been argued by the International Committee of the Red Cross, a view also
reflected in most of the academic literature, that the protection offered by the current
legal framework is adequate, but that the enforcement of it is lacking. This is
considered the predominant reason why journalists reporting on conflicts currently
face such significant risks to their safety. While this is clearly part of the problem,
this thesis challenges the notion that the legal framework provides all necessary
protection and that only through stronger enforcement can protection be increased.
In particular, it suggests that this ignores the effect that clarity and the
comprehensiveness of the framework can have on enforcement. Having explored the
gaps and limitations in the existing law, this thesis sets out the case for introducing a
dedicated convention for the protection of journalists in conflict zones in order to
clarify and streamline the current legal framework.||en