[Draft] Safety and Integrity of Conflict Journalism

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Luca

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« on: March 26, 2021, 01:11:40 pm »
          Greetings.

          Months ago, I authored a repeal of GAR#501,
Wartime Journalism Protection Act, and campaigned that it should be repealed and replaced. At the time, the author of that target resolution appeared as though they would take up the task of replacing it. That fell through. Another prolific contributor to this chamber began work to rreplacement, but that fell through as well.

As a result, I will take up the assignment to see that it is done, and done with quality.

[align=center]Safety and Integrity of Conflict Journalism
A resolution to promote funding and the development of education and the arts.
Category: Education and Creativity |Area of Effect: Free Press[/align]

The General Assembly;

Observing that, in times of unrest, a scrutinising media provides a safety net for civilians in conflict's path, not only by keeping them apprised of dangers, but by holding leaders accountable for what atrocities might otherwise be concealed,

Recognising that, while operating in close proximity to a conflict zone is perilous, a journalist's actions may be the only mechanism by which news of happenings may be returned to international authorities,

Aware of the dangers that conflict journalists face, beyond battlefield hazards, including being specifically targeted for arrest, kidnapping, and murder by belligerent factions or even their own government,

Resolved that it falls to the World Assembly to establish specific provisions which protect these journalists, safeguard their vital function, and assist in providing reports of non-compliance with international law.

May it be enacted that this chamber:

[list=1]
  • Defines for the purposes of this resolution's clarity:
[list=a]
  • a "conflict zone" as a battlefield, combat area, or zone where military equipment is employed to defeat, rout, or suppress opposing forces.
  • a "conflict journalist" as a reporter or a reporter's technical assistant, operating independent of any belligerent faction, and employed in providing journalism from an ongoing conflict zone or its surrounding area.
  • an "act of espionage" to mean reporting which is done under false pretences for purposes of benefiting one or more belligerent factions, except to uphold international law.
  • an "act of warfare" to mean capturing or killing of combatants, the intentional damaging or destruction of equipment and vehicles engaged in the conflict, or the transportation of personnel or supplies for a party of the conflict.
  • Declares that conflict journalists:
[list=a]
  • are classified as civilian non-combatants, afforded the special protections of this resolution.
  • are permitted to carry out any journalism that is not an act of espionage from or near a conflict zone.
  • reserve the right to carry defensive weaponry, and protect themselves should they come under attack.
  • are prohibited from accessing military facilities, except when invited by the owner or controller of the facility.
  • Prohibits member nations from:
[list=a]
  • disallowing conflict journalists access to a conflict zone and freedom of movement within it.
  • undertaking retaliatory action towards conflict journalists in response to unfavourable press coverage, or fear thereof.
  • detaining conflict journalists solely to limit their access to the conflict zone.
  • Establishes that the deliberate use of a conflict journalist as a military target shall be illegal and considered a war crime.
  • Clarifies that any conflict journalist who proactively engages in an act of warfare or act of espionage will be considered a "hostile combatant", exempt from the protections of this resolution, and unable to be considered a civilian in the conflict.


Some Notes:

Research seems to indicate that one area of protection that's most lacking, IRL, regards journalists reporting wars and turmoil from inside their own country. Things like civil wars or violent protests, things that may not necessarily be called a "war" by the local government for legal convenience, but where reporting may provide the same substantive benefits to the affected population. For this reason, it's best to base this resolution not around war, itself, but on conflicts that function like them.

The phrase "conflict journalism" seems best defined by the use of military equipment, since civil wars will also obviously be using that. Some of the massive protests observable in recent times have also been met with deployment of military-like equipment. If this causes nations to alter what equipment is being deployed, that would certainly be an improvement.

Conflict journalists are intended to be observers of the conflict and not direct actors in it. Therefore, there are clearly laid out expectations for when one no longer enjoys the rights of a protected-status-civilian, and becomes a combatant instead. The draft is both mindful of journalists who are fired upon not being coerced into losing their protections, while also not being able to work on behalf of a belligerent under the shielding of this text.

A journalist that dies as a result of the hazards in an active war zone is of no concern to me, for they have the independent agency to choose this line of work, knowing what perils are involved. There is no need to restrict their consent to risk any more than there is to restrict someone becoming a soldier solely for its similarly inherent dangers. I understand the complaints about this concern from the previous two attempts to legislate on this topic, but I will not entertain them in this thread. Consequently, nations may not restrict a journalist's ability to traverse the battlefield at their own expense.

In a complimentary check, journalists themselves, are not permitted to enter military facilities uninvited, as their presence could hinder military efforts in ways that would ordinarily not reclassify them as combatants. The contents of military facilities also contain little information that would not trigger the acts of espionage check, as well. So it is naturally restricted.

Finally, of note, the specific targetting of journalists for military strike will be considered a war crime. Deliberately using violence against civilians is already considered a war crime, per GAR#317 Wartime Looting and Pillage, but it is worth doubling down, in my opinion. Journalists who would be specifically brutalised, assassinated, and bombed are not targetted because they are civilians, but because they are journalists. So long as we uphold that war journalism provides a vital benefit to civilians in war, it should follow that we also find reprehensible the violent efforts to end that function.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2021, 12:43:19 pm by Luca »

Emily

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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2021, 02:25:20 pm »
To address your first concern regarding 2(c) and 5 conflicting with one another, maybe you could reword 5 to state:

  • Clarifies that any conflict journalist who proactively engages in an act of warfare or act of espionage will be considered a "hostile combatant", exempt from the protections of this resolution, and unable to be considered a civilian in the conflict.

This protects them in the instance of self-defence, which is being protected by 2(c).

I don't know how to establish a sanctioned badge, but I do like the idea of it.

Luca

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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2021, 02:29:51 pm »
To address your first concern regarding 2(c) and 5 conflicting with one another, maybe you could reword 5 to state:

  • Clarifies that any conflict journalist who proactively engages in an act of warfare or act of espionage will be considered a "hostile combatant", exempt from the protections of this resolution, and unable to be considered a civilian in the conflict.

This protects them in the instance of self-defence, which is being protected by 2(c).
Donezo

 

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