Pentagon expands journalist protections in revised Law of War manual

The Pentagon released an updated version of it Law of War manual on Friday after receiving criticism that the current guidelines allowed commanders to question the legitimacy of foreign correspondents, put journalists working war zones in danger, and infringed on freedom of the press.

The US Department of Defense originally released the manual, the first of its kind, in June 2015. It defined some journalists as “unprivileged belligerents,” which grants them fewer protections and makes them ineligible for prisoner of war (POW) status. It compared the work journalists do to enemy spying.

The revised text recognizes the civilian rights of journalists, the role they play in a free society, and the purpose they serve in a war zone. The report specifically outlined that free and unimpeded reporting, including the need to meet with enemy combatants, is consistent with the objectives of the military. In light of this, commanders are responsible for distinguishing between journalists and enemy forces so that journalists are not accidentally detained without charge by their own government. READ MORE.