The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has mandated journalists to always objectively report humanitarian problems that arise from conflicts in accordance with international humanitarian law (IHL) in order to enjoy protection.
ICRC communications field officer, Jos sub-delegation, Patience Nanklin-Yawus, called during the presentations at a two-day training course organized on Thursday in Jos, Plateau for journalists from 10 states.
She said, Journalists should always be neutral, impartial and independent when reporting on humanitarian issues as covered by international humanitarian law.
Nanklin-Yawus stated that the international humanitarian law contained in the Geneva Convention applies to both civilians and journalists belong, as well as dictate civilians should not be attacked during conflicts.
She said that the rules of engagement include women, children and fellow workers Protect health workers, including those who are not part of the conflict.
Nanklin-Yawus stated that the moment a journalist takes sides in his report or action, such a journalist loses his protection the IHL.
She said that a journalist reporting on conflicts who was previously protected under the IHL becomes vulnerable and loses his protection. It immediately turns out that he is no longer neutral, impartial and independent is.
Nanklin-Yawus noted that journalists ‘top priority in humanitarian coverage is to ensure that victims receive help regardless of the victims’ ethnic, religious or political origin.
She advised media professionals to rise above all feelings, even if they were affected by conflicts, in order to de-escalate the already poor security situation.
For his part, Aliyu Dawobe, The Commissioner for Public ICRC Abuja said that experience over the years has shown that parties willfully attack civilians, journalists, medical personnel and facilities in contravention of the provisions of international humanitarian law.
He explained this on the basis of the data available to them, 1,402 journalists were killed in conflict situations worldwide between 1992 and 2021.
He added that many medical personnel and medical facilities alike were attacked, destroyed and looted in places affected by conflict Violate international humanitarian law.
He said the attacks on medical staff and facilities have made it difficult for victims of conflict to receive humanitarian aid in some of the affected locations.
Dawobe therefore appealed to both state and non-state actors in conflicts to respect international humanitarian law so that the victims, the wounded and the sick receive humanitarian aid.
Participants in the training are journalists in print, electronic and online media organizations from the states of Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, Kastina, Bauchi, Kano, Yobe, Zamfara, Kaduna and Sokoto.