"The days of the independent, neutral war correspondent, objectively reporting from a war's front lines, are quickly coming to an end. In the future, a war correspondent will either effectively be a soldier for one faction of a conflict, or he will literally not survive in the war zone.An interesting article... Since March 2003, 181 journalists have been killed in Iraq, a significant number of which are Iraqi employees of major news outlets. Much has been written (with a certain amount of justification) about journalists being part of the stories they cover. In Iraq, it may be the only way to survive outside of being embedded with a US unit, which is not necessarily an option open to the journalists most at risk in Iraq.
In today's media age, the requirement for combatants to shape perceptions about the nature of a conflict, and the necessity of denying that ability to the enemy, are more crucial than firepower and logistics, the traditional measures of battlefield dominance. Successful media operations energize a faction's supporters and demoralize its enemies. When effective, this is more important than squadrons of fighter-bombers or train-loads of assault rifles. Whether they like or not, journalists are in the army now."
We have already seen how the traditional rules governing the conduct of war (see the Hague and Geneva Conventions) are changing. Are journalists now "legitimate" targets? Who is next? Medical personnel?