The symposium consisted of two panels. The first panel 'In the Field' was moderated by Chrisanthi Giotis and featured keynote Sophie McNeill, Matt Brown, Hamish McDonald and Kate Geraghty. Sacha Molitorisz moderated the second panel 'Virtues and Rights', featuring ICRC's David Tuck, Stan Grant and Kathryn Greenman.
Conflicting Ethics in Conflict Reporting
Watch the full symposium here.
Welcome: David Tuck
David has worked with the ICRC since 2006, first as a Pashtu Interpreter and Protection Delegate in Afghanistan. From 2011, he has been Legal Adviser to the ICRC’s Operations in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and for the Middle East. Between 2018 and 2020, David was the ICRC’s Regional Legal Adviser for the East and Horn of Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is currently ICRC Head of Mission in Canberra.
As the Head of Mission, David leads a team that works closely with government, military, diplomatic and academic stakeholders to foster support for the ICRC’s global operations, and to promote international humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.
Keynote: Sophie McNeill
Sophie McNeill is the Australia Researcher for Human Rights Watch. She was formerly an investigative reporter with ABC TV’s Four Corners. Sophie was also a foreign correspondent for the ABC and SBS in the Middle East.
Sophie has twice been awarded Australian Young TV Journalist of the Year and in 2010 won a Walkley Award for her investigation into the killing of five children in Afghanistan by Australian Special Forces soldiers. She is the author of We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know: Dispatches from an Age of Impunity (2020).
Panel 1: In the Field
In this first panel, the conversation kept returning to the key ethical tension that correspondents must navigate in the field, the safety of themselves and especially of their collaborators, balanced against the importance and power of their narratives. Influencing this discussion was the changing role of technology and geopolitical shifts that impact what gets reported and how.
Panel 2: Virtues and Rights
When journalists make ethical decisions in the field, they also need to keep the law in mind, whether domestic law or international law. The relationship between ethics and law, however, is anything but straightforward. Our second panel opened by exploring this relationship.
Panel 1: Live Illustration
Live illustration of 'In the Field' by Rebecca Lazenby.
Panel 2: Live Illustration
Live illustration of 'Virtues and Rights' by Rebecca Lazenby.
ICRCs VR Unit
The ICRC’s Virtual Reality (VR) Unit was officially established in 2014 with the aim of harnessing virtual environments as one of many tools used to educate, communicate and advocate respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL). VR is a powerful communication and teaching tool; mounting research suggests that gaming in immersive virtual environments can directly affect and impact regions of the brain responsible for memory, spatial orientation, information organisation and fine motor skills.
With its internally-created simulations covering a vast array of subjects - from first aid to IHL in urban conflict - the ICRC uses VR to train, engage and spread awareness of its work.