DIMAPUR, APR 6 (NPN): A one-day workshop for journalists, organised by Indian Red Cross Society, Nagaland branch in collaboration with International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) Wednesday at NH-39 Auditorium here, discussed International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Geneva Conventions, and its relevance to conflict reporting.
The workshop was organised with an objective to make journalists more aware of their role in highlighting issues of humanitarian concern, international humanitarian law and challenges while covering events in conflict zones.
Nagaland state information commissioner Kevinino Meru graced the workshop as chief guest. Delivering her speech, SIC Kevinino Meru admitted she was personally interested in the field of media, and said local media was doing “fairly well”. She, however, added that there was always room for improvement and scope for journalists to take more challenges.
Pointing out that media had an important role to play in the society, the SIC urged the media to disseminate right information to the public and enlighten the people on various issues.
Later, at the subsequent session, ICRC cooperation coordinator Paul Keen highlighted the activities of the organisation. The resource person said ICRC was a neutral, impartial organization which acted in times of armed conflicts.
The ICRC is committed to responding rapidly and efficiently to the humanitarian needs of people affected by armed conflict or by a natural disaster occurring in a conflict area.
He also highlighted the misuse of Red Cross emblems by doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. According to Red Cross representative hospitals, doctors and ambulances were expected to use their own logos. The Geneva Convention Implementing Act-1936 prohibits misuse of the Red Cross symbol.
ICRC communication coordinator Dr.Alexis Heeb gave a power point presentation on Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols; cluster munitions, where governments from around the world adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which have killed and injured large numbers of civilians; and respect for IHL where all states and parties to an armed conflict have an obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) in all circumstances.
IHL is a set of rules which seek to limit the effects of armed conflict.
ICRC New Delhi, political advisor Surender Singh Oberoi, who was a journalist, in his presentation on conflict reporting and IHL, recounted his experiences as a journalist who had covered the Kashmir crises for years.
He pointed out that a professional journalist, in a conflict zone, should first assess the situation and then report.
Singh said had he known about the IHL then, his reporting could have been different in outlook.
He advised journalists to remain more transparent and credible instead of exaggerating stories.
Several local journalists participated in the workshop and had open discussion with resource persons.