Keeping Reporters Safe

The Ethics of Drone Journalism in a Humanitarian Crisis

Authored by: Turo Uskali , Epp Lauk

The Routledge Companion To Media and Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138688575
eBook ISBN: 9781315538129
Adobe ISBN:


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Covering crises presents some of the biggest challenges in news reporting. Taking good images or videos during conflicts or remote areas is an especially hazardous business. In 2012–2014, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (2015), over 70 journalists and photographers were killed in conflict zones. In this chapter, we will focus on analyzing several cases of drone journalism in crisis reporting. Drones have been used for news covering since 2011, starting with the street riots in Warsaw. The latest examples, in 2015, are from the conflict zones of Eastern Ukraine, the aftermath of the earthquakes in Nepal, and the migration crisis in Europe. We will refer to some ethical guidelines and propositions for good drone journalism in humanitarian crisis reporting. In addition, based on our empirical findings, and The World Press Freedom Index, we will develop three scenarios for the future of drone journalism. By drone journalism we mean the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for journalistic purposes.

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