Trapped journalists in Tripoli must be treated as civilians

New York, August 22, 2011–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on all forces fighting in Tripoli to ensure the safety of journalists and respect their status as civilians.

“We are concerned about the safety of journalists trapped in Tripoli’s Rixos hotel,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney.  “All sides in the conflict have an obligation to avoid harming journalists and to respect their status under international law as civilians.”

More than 30 journalists have been holed up in the Rixos Hotel, located near the Qaddafi regime compound in Tripoli, since the fighting for the capital began several days ago, according to news reports.  Journalists in the hotel said that snipers were positioned around the property where pro-Qaddafi forces are still operating.