Guidelines for the safety of journalists covering armed conflict

As of posting time, journalists have been required by the military authorities to evacuate Barangay (village) Sta. Catalina because of heavy firefighting.

    The following is a summary of the Charter for the Safety of Journalists Working in War Zones or Dangerous Areas adopted by the      Reporters Sans Frontieres or Reporters Without Borders:

       (Intro. gist)  International law requires the warring parties to provide protection to journalists working in war zones. Employers must also provide basic protection, compensation, and guarantees.    The following eight principles apply:

      Principle 1. Commitment. (gist) Media organizations, the State, and journalists must reduce risks by exchanging useful information, providing enough preparation, equipment, insurance.

     Principle 2. Free Will. (gist) Covering armed conflict must always be voluntary. A reporter and/ or his/her  crew has the right to refuse the assignment, or to terminate it even while in the field.

      Principle 3. Experience. (gist) Only experienced reporters shall be sent to a war zone. Those who are covering combat for the first time must be accompanied by an experienced colleague. After the assignment, editors must provide a debriefing to cull lessons.

     Principle 4. Preparation. (gist) Training in how to cope in war zones, how to reduce risks, and how to conduct first aid, must be regularly provided.

      Principle 5. Equipment. (gist) Editors should provide war correspondents and their crew with enough safety equipment such as bullet-proof vests,  helmets and, if possible, armored vehicles, 

communication equipment (locator beacons) and survival and first-aid kits.

     Principle 6. Insurance  (gist). Before sending reporters and their crew to dangerous assignments, editors must provide insurance for  illness, repatriation, disability and loss of life and comply with all professional obligations and agreements.

     Principle 7.  Psychological counselling. (gist) Media management must ensure that reporters and their crew, if they so desire, have access to psychological counselling after returning from a dangerous assignment.

      Principle 8. Legal protection. (gist). Under Protocol 2 of the Geneva Conventions, journalists are considered civilians and entitled to protection. Any attack on journalists that causes their death or injury is a breach of the Protocol and is considered a war crime.

         – Summary of the Charter for the Safety of Journalists Working in War Zones adopted by the Reporters sans Frontieres


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