IHL guide for journalists

By knowing and referencing international humanitarian law (IHL), journalists not only foster better safety for themselves on the ground, but they also enhance their reporting by promoting a better public understanding of the rules that apply during armed conflicts, the humanitarian impact of non-compliance with these rules, and the work done by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and other humanitarian organisations in war zones.

Download our IHL Guide for Journalists

New Zealand Red Cross IHL Guide for Journalists (PDF)

Knowing and referencing IHL

Here’s a brief intro to the basics of IHL.

Here is more information on IHL which has been specifically tailored to the needs of media professionals:


Assistance for journalists on dangerous assignments

Media professionals are often exposed to serious danger when reporting from war zones or other areas associated with armed violence. Every year, journalists are arrested, injured, killed, detained or simply disappear while on assignment.

The humanitarian issues involved in media professionals’ disappearance or captivity, particularly in wartime, are matters of concern to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In accordance with IHL, journalists on assignment in areas of armed conflict must be respected and protected, as long as they do not take action adversely affecting their status as civilians.

New Zealand Red Cross, using British Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resources, has put together a briefing for journalists on their rights and responsibilities under IHL when reporting from and on armed conflict. 

ICRC operates a hotline enabling journalists, their families and the media organisations they work for to request assistance if they are wounded, detained or missing.

The 24-hour ICRC Hotline can be reached on +41 79 217 32 85 or by emailing: press@icrc.org

New Zealand Red Cross IHL Guide for Journalists (PDF)

Other resources

The British Red Cross’ Field Guide for Media Professionals (PDF)
The British Red Cross’ Handbook for Media Professionals (PDF)

These two publications were produced by the British Red Cross in partnership with the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. The author was Nicole Urban.