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Russian parliament to ensure better protection of war correspondents

July 03, 2014, 19:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Calls for tougher media law followed a series of killings of Russian journalists covering events in the embattled southeast regions of Ukraine
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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Dzhaparidze

MOSCOW, July 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s parliament has begun drafting a bill designed to ensure better safety for news professionals working in armed conflict zones. Amendments to the media law provide for journalists’ voluntary genome record-keeping.

The bill also envisages additional life and health insurance for staff sent to combat areas, personal equipment fit for conditions and identity cards for those on dangerous missions as prescribed by additional protocols to the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of victims of international armed conflicts.

Calls for tougher media law followed a series of killings of Russian journalists covering events in the embattled southeast regions of Ukraine — the death of Russian TV cameraman Anatoly Klyan in the eastern Donetsk region overnight to June 30 and the killing of state TV broadcaster VGTRK correspondents Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin near the eastern city of Luhansk on June 17.

“An employer should be obliged to organize special training for correspondents working in dangerous areas, ensure their genomic registration and provide psychological support to them and their family members upon their return,” said Russia’s Union of Journalists, participating in drafting the bill. “Employers should be subject to administrative liability for failing to perform these duties.”

Issues of journalists’ security have also been raised at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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