This is another in a series of articles by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press covering legal issues that affect journalists. Image from Deposit Photo Threatening journalists over their reporting is not a new concept, but the age of electronic media has brought a new method of intimidation and harassment known as doxxing. Typically done online, the information then is used by others in a campaign of harassment, threats and pranks.
Is the second casualty the truth-teller? But at what cost? Many are maimed physically or psychologically, or both. Recent conflicts bear this out. During four weeks of fighting in Iraq, 15 journalists and media workers died and two are still missing.
Accidents killed some, but most died in combat. During the Gulf War, no journalists died in the actual liberation of Kuwait, but in the aftermath, four freelancers were killed. Last year, in Afghanistan, eight journalists died in a two-week time span.
At one point in that war, media casualties outnumbered military deaths. Ninety-four media workers and journalists died in the Yugoslav wars of the s.
Some 60 journalists died during the Vietnam War and the fighting in Cambodia. Some journalists were embedded in coalition units. New systems, new risks Journalists have some international protection.
Under the Geneva Convention, journalists are to be treated as civilians in times of conflict; harming or killing them is a war crime. Yet some journalists believe the new types of war - and war coverage - may blur the line between civilians and combatants, unless opposing forces are close enough to tell who is shooting pictures rather than bullets.
Economics are also taking a toll. Commonly, but not exclusively, stringers and freelancers are also often younger, less experienced journalists. Data and anecdotal evidence from various conflicts seem to indicate that a considerable number of injuries and deaths occur among journalists working on temporary contracts.
The IFJ also insisted that media companies take their share of the responsibility.
Against the backdrop of the war in the former Yugoslavia, and with the death toll mounting, the IFJ and its member unions pushed hard to create a tripartite approach to the issue.
Today, many IFJ member unions, in cooperation with media companies and military authorities, have created intensive war preparation training programmes for their members.
Many media unions include the right to safety training in their collective agreements. The IFJ and its members have also strongly advocated equal benefits for freelancers. It includes information on equipment, training, precautions, preparations, insurance, first aid, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Objectives include developing safety assistance programmes in hot spots, setting standards for safety courses and equipment body armour, gas masks, chemical suits, etc.
But how much will this really help? In the end, covering armed conflicts is always going to be dangerous. It seems from the statistics that the greater the access journalists have to a war zone, the greater the number who die, but the better the general public is informed.
TMedia companies and trade unions can chip away at the dangers through training and preparation. But in the end, journalists, like truth, will continue to be casualties of war.NEW YORK, Aug 26 (IPS) - As the reliance on freelance journalists by news organisation has increased, so has the burden of guaranteeing a safe working environment for these journalists, especially when reporting from war-torn areas.
Why Journalists Take the Risk to Report from Dangerous Places When entire regions are no-go zones for journalists, what do we accept as news? The dangers of journalism in war zones April 6, BabakJoy Leave a comment We should take a moment to honor Anja Niedringhaus, a photojournalist based in .
The dangers of journalism include getting doxxed. Here’s what you can do about it.
By Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press · May 19, Sep 06, · News outlets need to provide insurance and ensure the safety of the freelance journalists they hire to report from trouble spots.
The Dangers of Journalism This year's annual worldwide survey of press freedom violations reports that a record journalists were in prison in 24 countries, and 27 journalists were killed.