Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israel Targeting Journalists in Lebanon

It's illegal to intentionally target civilians in an armed conflict, but Israel has been doing just that in Lebanon.


Somebody should tell the Israeli military it’s not right to shoot reporters just because you disagree with them.

At least seven media workers were injured in the first 48 hours of fighting in Lebanon – all of them hurt by the Israeli military. According to the watch-dog group Reporters Without Borders the count includes three employees of the Lebanese satellite channel New TV and four workers at the Hizballah-controlled TV network al-Manar (ed. note: the site is down).
Three employees with Al-Manar sustained injuries Thursday when its premises in the Shiite suburban Beirut were struck by a missile during an Israeli air raid. The station said its antenna was not destroyed and broadcasting was not interrupted.

"The al-Manar station has for many years served as the main tool for propaganda and incitement by Hizballah, and has also helped the organization recruit people into its ranks," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

But media and human rights groups say Israel has no right to target al-Manar because it doesn't like the channel's content.

One would think that would be obvious.

Raw Story has video of a FOX News crew being shot at in Israel on Thursday. The Israeli army was the only known armed force in the secured area at the time.

This isn't the first time that Israel has shown blatant disregard for the lives of journalists. The European Federation of Journalists details many such instances on its site.

A 2003 documentary, In the Line of Fire, (view free online) also covered the dangers that journalists face in the Middle East at the hands of armed Israelis and Palestinians.

The Geneva Conventions specifically provide for the protection for journalists as civilians:

1. Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians within the meaning of Article 50, paragraph 1.

2. They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this Protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians, and without prejudice to the right of war correspondents accredited to the armed forces to the status provided for in Article 4 (A) (4) of the Third Convention.

Yet, they continue to be attacked with impunity.

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