An empty Syrian village at sunrise.
Syria/Region: News

Training for Syrian Journalists on the Laws of War

8 September 2021

The Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Centre and Free Press Unlimited organised a training for Syrian journalists on the laws of war. A better understanding of IHL enhances both the power of the law and the media.

Journalists play a key role in documenting and uncovering alleged violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and in providing information on the conflict in Syria.

To increase journalists’ understanding of international law, the Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Centre Lebanon, in collaboration with Free Press Unlimited, trained a dozen Syrian journalists on the laws of war.

During a workshop in August 2021, legal experts of the Centre provided in-depth information on topics such as the protection of civilians, with a focus on journalists; the conduct of hostilities; and detention in armed conflict. The journalists learned when IHL applies, what means of methods of warfare are allowed under international law, and how IHL can be enforced by national and international courts. The sessions also covered ethical aspects on reporting and documenting alleged IHL violations.

Contribution to climate of accountability

With an enhanced knowledge, they are able to carry out their crucial role of providing qualitative news on the different aspects of the on-going conflict in Syria. When journalists have a strong understanding of how the law works, they can contribute to an environment in which perpetrators are held accountable – by the public and eventually in court.

The collaboration between the Centre and Free Press Unlimited therefore offered a unique opportunity to enhance both the power of the law and the media.

The Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Centre, which is part of the Swedish development and humanitarian organisation Diakonia, promotes respect for the laws of war to increase the protection of people in conflict zones. Through research, training, and advocacy, the Centre raises awareness of and knowledge about IHL among a variety of actors in Syria and the region.

Free Press Unlimited supports media and journalists worldwide, particularly in countries with limited (press) freedom. Everyone has the right to independent, reliable and timely information. Through the Ethical Journalism for Syrian Media (EJSM) programme Free Press Unlimited aim is to contribute to responsible, inclusive and safe practice of the journalistic profession and the sector.