Gary Pruitt, CEO of the Associated Press, said this week that it should be a war crime to kill or take a journalist hostage. Sixty-one journalists were killed in 2014 while working. The CEO said that international laws should be updated to specifically protect journalists. This might not truly make much of a difference, but he hoped it would raise awareness about how journalists should be treated.
Pruitt said that journalists are being targeted during conflict more than ever because they are no longer needed to get messages out. Social media has made it possible for extremist groups like ISIS to communicate their message without using journalists as middlemen.
Another reason why journalists could be targeted more and more is their vulnerability. Killing a reporter will result in coverage because of the ruthlessness of the killing, and the industries own interest.
Sixty-one journalists killed in a year is a horrific number. I would have never guessed it was that high. If I was a media executive I would have a hard time sending reporters into violent areas. Especially if I knew they would be a particular target. But, if fewer reporters go into these areas, the news coming out of them is controlled by the perpetrators of violence.This makes it all the more important that journalists are afforded all protection that they can be.