Keywords: journalists, testimony, testimonial privilege, international criminal tribunals, war correspondents, war reporting, newsgathering, war zones, conflict zones, war crimes, moral dilemma, witnesses
The testimonial privilege of journalists reporting in wartimes or from conflict zones
Journalists reporting from conflict zones make a significant contribution to uncovering and documenting of war crimes. As trained neutral observers they may serve as witnesses in subsequent criminal prosecutions. This creates a moral dilemma: not forcing them to testify in international criminal tribunals may result in perpetrators of war crimes going free – forcing them to testify, may not only put their lives and those of their sources and families at risk, but perpetrators may never confide in them and war crimes may repeatedly go unnoticed. This raises several contentious issues surrounding the testimonial privilege for journalists reporting under these conditions.