Ali Roudbari, in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, continued: Apart from the issue of the murder of Ms. Abu Aqla, if we want to examine the rights of journalists in the field of international humanitarian law, we must first consider that the journalist in the general sense refers to all human factors that play a key role in carrying out the mission of the mass media, including the press, radio, television, news agencies and news sites.

The Allameh Tabataba’i University lecturer, noting that human elements include reporters, journalists, news reporters, photographers, videographers and others involved in preparing, editing and disseminating news and reports, said: The mass media and their human elements enjoy the freedom of the press as one of the fundamental conditions for freedom of dissemination of information in its concept. Freedom of information dissemination in general and in parallel and prologue with it, freedom of opinion and expression and the free flow of information are among the principles of human rights that are relevant both in times of peace and at times of conflict.

Referring to the historical and legal history of supporting journalists and the mass media in general, Roudbari explained: This history dates back to 1907 and Article 13 of the provisions of the Hague Convention IV with its Annexed Regulations setting forth the laws and customs of war. This regulation is aimed at protecting journalists and reporters who accompany the parties to an armed conflict without being directly involved.

The legal expert continued: In fact, the Hague Rules not only protect journalists and war correspondents, and not only those independent, but also give them the right to be treated as prisoners of war if they are captured. Of course, provided that they have a permit from the army that they accompany.

Roudbari, saying that civilian journalists should not be equated with war journalists, he said: Civilian or ordinary journalists unlike war correspondents, do not accompany the armed forces of either side of the conflict and do not have a special permit to participate in the conflict, but it is enough only to have a valid press card.

The university lecturer saying that the UN General Assembly has considered the issue of supporting journalists since the beginning of its 25th session said: Therefore, we saw that in 1970 a draft treaty to protect journalists was prepared which was initiated by France.

He continued: The General Assembly, in a resolution on November 2, 1973, requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations to submit the draft resolution to the Diplomatic Conference on the ratification and promotion of humanitarian rights; finally, the conference considered the issue in its second session which will lead to the writing of the text of Article 79 of the First Additional Protocol.

Pointing out that the First Additional Protocol has dedicated a special chapter to the subject of journalists, Roudbari said: That is, the third chapter of the third section, entitled treatment of individuals is dealt by one of the parties to the conflict and this chapter contains an article, numbered 79 and entitled protective measures for journalists.

The expert stressed: In its first paragraph, this article recognizes the nature of being civilian for all journalists, not war correspondents. According to the second paragraph of the same article, journalists enjoy the protection of the civilians; of course, provided that they do not engage in acts that are inconsistent with their situation.

The Allameh University lecturer explained: This clause emphasizes that the protection provided for in this clause does not damage the rights of war correspondents affiliated with the armed forces provided for in the Third Geneva Convention, namely Clause 4 of Article 4.

He added: According to the third paragraph of this article, having a valid ID card is required for all journalists present in the conflict, which must be issued by the government of which the journalist is a citizen or the mass media in which the journalist is employed.

According to the university law professor, in addition to the conventional and customary support of journalists, the supportive measures of the United Nations, especially the Security Council, and international non-governmental organizations, especially Reporters without Borders, should be considered.

Roudbari says the issue of mass media protection in non-international armed conflicts has not been addressed in the Geneva Conventions, and in particular the 1977 Additional Protocol.

He continued: The special support of journalists is important because they are still considered civilians and enjoy the support for the civilians, despite being involved in armed conflicts and carrying out dangerous professional missions.

The legal researcher stressed that, of course, this issue has nothing to do with war correspondents.

He noted: Killing of Ms. Shireen Abu Aqla as a journalist while on a mission is the violation of the right to life as the most fundamental human right, and in terms of international humanitarian law, killing of journalists like Ms. Abu Aqla is considered a crime against humanity.

He stressed: Rights of journalists are so important that they have a separate chapter on legal issues.

Roudbari said in conclusion that the Zionist regime by killing people like Ms. Abu Aqla violates both the human rights of individuals and the international humanitarian law of those people, and it should accept its responsibility and consequences.