AP's Pruitt: Killing Journalists a War Crime

Citing the growing threat to journalists and the changing nature of that threat, AP president Gary Pruitt said killing a journalist or taking journalists hostage should be considered a war crime in violation of the Geneva Convention.

Pruitt called on that extra protection in a speech to the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong March 30.

He said the goal was protecting the "first-hand original reporting from trusted sources, like those of you in this room, that lets citizens around the world make informed decisions and hold their governments and other large institutions accountable."

He said AP's view of the 1,000 journalists killed since 1992 is "up close and personal" and while he understands there are inherent risks, the danger has been compounded. "Wearing PRESS on your jacket once offered some degree of protection for journalists in the most dangerous areast," he said. "Today, it more often makes them a target. Extremist organizations don’t need us to get their story out—they can use social media and other means. And they certainly don’t want an independent media to observe them. They want to control their message from start to finish."

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.