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Could Attacks on Journalists Be Made War Crimes?

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Posted on Dec 15, 2013
AK Rockefeller (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The global journalist defense group Reporters Without Borders wants the International Criminal Court and the United Nations to consider attacks on journalists war crimes.

The U.N. Security Council met Friday to discuss what can be done to protect journalists amid news that more than 50 have been killed so far this year. An estimated 90 percent of those deaths go unpunished.

The Associated Press reported:

The director of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, called the statistics on killings “sinister” and warned that impunity amounts to “encouragement” for more attacks.

Deloire said 88 journalists were killed in connection with their work last year — a record since the organization started keeping count in 1995.

The British ambassador to the U.N., Mark Lyall Grant, told the chamber, “This is not just an issue for media, it’s an issue for all of us.”

The proposal found support among attendants of the security council meeting. The Guatemalan ambassador, one of the meeting’s hosts, called the idea a good one, especially with many attacks on reporters occurring in countries with dysfunctional or collapsed judicial systems.

As reporters subject to the United States’ increasingly hostile Justice Department know, the threats to journalists include imprisonment. The briefing notes for the meeting said 183 journalists around the globe are currently in prison.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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