The International Protection of Journalists in Times of Armed Conflict and the Campaign for a Press Emblem

30 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2012

See all articles by Emily Crawford

Emily Crawford

University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 30, 2012


War correspondents have long been vulnerable to violence, by dint of their profession. Embedded amongst military units, or else unilaterally venturing into war zones, journalists who seek to cover events in conflict areas knowingly place themselves at risk of injury or death by their acts. The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I – both of which regulate international armed conflicts – offer some protections for journalists during times of international armed conflict, but the increasingly amorphous character of twenty-first century armed conflicts has meant that journalists most often find themselves reporting on non-international armed conflicts, or conflicts that do not meet the threshold of armed conflict under international law. Recently, an international campaign, emanating from journalist advocacy organizations, has argued for the introduction of an internationally protected and recognized emblem, similar to the Red Cross emblem, as a means by which journalists can be identified as persons deserving special protection. The Press Emblem would be part of a larger convention geared towards the protection of journalists in armed conflict situations. Therefore, this article will examine the reasons behind the call for special protections, analyze and examine the current legal protections for journalists, and the perceived deficiencies of those protections, for media personnel who operate in conflict zones. This article will examine the substance of the prototype convention for the protection of journalists and analyze whether such a convention is indeed a necessary and useful addition to the law of armed conflict.

Keywords: law of armed conflict, journalists, international humanitarian law, protected emblems, international law, freedom of the press

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Crawford, Emily, The International Protection of Journalists in Times of Armed Conflict and the Campaign for a Press Emblem (August 30, 2012). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 12/61. Available at SSRN: or

Emily Crawford (Contact Author)

University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006

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