Under international humanitarian law (the laws of war), armed attacks on civilian TV or radio stations are prohibited if they are designed primarily to undermine civilian morale or to psychologically harass the civilian population. Although stopping enemy propaganda may serve to demoralize the Iraqi population and to undermine the government's political support, neither purpose offers the "concrete and direct" military advantage necessary under international law to make civilian broadcast facilities a legitimate military target.
“Television stations cannot be attacked just because they are used for propaganda purposes,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The United States needs to explain why the attack against Iraqi TV served a military purpose.”
That Iraqi TV was used to display American prisoners of war, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, does not make it a legitimate military target. Such a violation does not offer a concrete and direct advantage to the Iraqi military.
Civilian TV and radio stations are only legitimate targets if they become military objectives, that is, if they are used in a way that makes an "effective contribution to military action” and their destruction in the circumstances ruling at the time offers “a definite military advantage." Civilian stations could become military targets if, for example, they are used to broadcast military communications or if they are otherwise used concretely to advance a military campaign.
In addition, should stations become military objectives, the principle of proportionality in attack must be scrupulously respected. This means that planners and military commanders should verify at all times that the risks involved to the civilian population in undertaking such attacks do not outweigh the perceived military benefit. Special precautions should be taken in relation to buildings located in urban areas. Advance warning of an attack must be given whenever possible.
To read more on War in Iraq, please see: http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/iraq/