Reporters Without Borders

Journalists in conflict zones: train with the French army

Journalists in conflict zones: train with the French army

Published on Monday 22 April 2013.
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From the 9th to the 14th of December 2012, the press service of the French Defence Department’s Delegation for Defence Information and Communication (DICoD) welcomed the 450th recipient of the training internship for journalists in conflict zones, organised by the National Commando Training Centre in Collioure (Pyrénées Orientales).

Since 1993, the DICoD has hosted two annual sessions, each of around 20 people, to journalists, whether freelance or working on behalf of international, national or regional media, and who would like to benefit from being trained in the dangers inherent to reporting in high risk areas.

What’s in Store? Theory lessons, introduction to different types of weapons (from handguns to light machine guns), shooting practice, evasion and self-defence techniques, simulations in “war zone” reporting, clearing obstacle courses...

The Purpose of the Exercises? To understand the risks in order to protect themselves in dangerous zones, to learn stress management techniques, handle basic first aid, get tips and advice, and finally:

  • to avoid moving around, where possible
  • to have people come to them, rather than going to see them,
  • to avoid being alone,
  • not to enter buildings,
  • to be courteous, but not submissive, at check-points...

The recommendations are numerous. At a time when more and more reporters are joining soldiers on the ground, including sometimes to the frontlines, training journalists also allows the army to ensure their operations are not disturbed.

The main aims of the internship as described by the DICoD are:

1. To train participants in the risks of urban environment battlefields:

  • the effects of light infantry weapons, shelling and explosives, and the danger of mines and booby-traps;
  • check-points, security checks and roadblocks;
  • summary arrests and detention.

2. Teach techniques to limit the effects of these risks:

  • reaction to open fire (evacuation, protection);
  • being vigilant about the danger of mines and booby-traps;
  • attitudes towards provocations during arrests at roadblocks set up by government forces, militia or bandits;
  • basic first aid (evacuating an injured or traumatised person);
  • what to wear

3. Train journalists in the basic procedures of an infantry combat group in order to gather information without bothering the mission underway.






For more information, please contact: Defence Department, Delegation for Defence Information and Communication (DICOD), Press Service Tel: 01 44 42 54 02 Email: presse@dicod.defense.gouv.fr

Reporters Without Borders, Help Desk Tel: 01 44 83 60 56 Email: assistance@rsf.org


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