Friend and fellow video blogger Josh Wolf, who had 7 months of his life taken from him by the federal government, made a stellar appearance on the Colbert Report last night. Josh was solidly on his game, even catching Colbert off guard a couple of times. It’s rare to see both Thomas Paine and Charles Manson invoked in an interview, but it all makes complete sense. You gotta watch!
Today was a extraordinary day as Josh Wolf was released from federal prison after 7.5 months for contempt of court. He was the longest held American journalist in US history. Now that he’s out, he’s got a couple projects he will be working on. From his press conference today on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.
Josh’s great friends and supporters in San Francisco
are really doing some incredible things to help. The
first thing is to have as many people as possible call
Nancy Pelosi tomorrow [Friday, 12/15] about Josh’s situation. The
number is (415) 556-4862. If you can’t get through,
please try later in the day or next week.
Thanks so much,
A night of speakers, film, spoken word, and music to benefit Josh Wolf’s legal fund
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7
2183 Mission Street near 18th
MARK LENO California State Assemblyman
BRUCE BRUGMANN Publisher Bay Guardian
CHRIS DALY San Francisco Supervisor
ROSS MIRKARIMI, San Francisco Supervisor
DAVID GREENE Executive Director, First Amendment Project
JANE KIM School Board Comissioner Elect
SARAH OLSON Radio Producer and Independent Journalist
New short film about Josh by filmmakers
KEVIN EPPS and NJERI SIMS
PLUS SPOKEN WORD AND MUSICAL GUESTS
The San Francisco Bay Guardian
The Free Josh Wolf Coalition
The League of Young Voters
Society of Professional Journalists NorCal Chapter
Reporters Without Borders
First Amendment Project
Suggested donation $2 to $25
Cash bar available with ID
This event is ALL AGES
For more information and/or to participate in this event contact Andy
JOSH WOLF is a San Francisco free-lance journalist being held for his refusal, based on journalistic principles, to turn over to a federal grand jury his news footage from a July 2005 protest. Free-press advocates from around the world have called his incarceration unjust and a grave violation of the freedom of the press. Josh is well on his way to becoming the longest-incarcerated journalist in US history. His case has prompted Reporters Without Borders to lower the United States’ ranking for press freedom nine points to 53rd in the world.
For his commitment to journalistic freedom Josh received the 2006 Journalist of the Year Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. On this occasion he was praised by Assemblyman Mark Leno who commended his “courageous dedication to protecting freedom of the press in our country.”
For more information on Josh’s case and to learn how you can help visit www.joshwolf.net
My good friend Josh Wolf was jailed yesterday by a federal judge for standing up for the right of a free press, something that is guaranteed by the First Amendment. It all started when Josh filmed a protest around the G8 summit last year and posted part of it up on his blog. The mainstream media saw this and reproduced it for their newscasts without Josh’s permission. So he sent them a bill and got paid.
Then one day the FBI knocks on Josh’s door and asks for the complete unedited version of the tape that Josh has. He refuses and is eventually subpoenaed before a federal grand jury investigating the burning of a SF police car during the protest. Josh is well within his rights as a journalist to not have to give up his source material. In fact, there is a shield law in California that guarantees this. Except that this is a federal case, and the feds don’t believe in shield laws or the First Amendment. The feds claim that since the SFPD gets some federal funding that the police car in question is federal property and it’s burning is a federal crime. This is such ridiculous bullshit I don’t know where to begin. Under normal circumstances, the local police department would and should be investigating this. Since the feds have taken on the case, the normal rules don’t apply. Josh and his lawyers believe this is a witch hunt and that the feds really couldn’t care less about the burning police car. Josh has stated that he has no footage of the burning car incident and even asked the judge to see for himself. He declined.
The bottom line is the video tape is Josh’s property. He should be under no obligation to be compelled to give up this private property. By doing so, all journalists are automatically deputized by the police to collect evidence for them. That’s not Josh’s job nor should it be.
I just donated $100 to Josh’s legal defense fund and I would encourage anyone reading this to give what they can. Josh is one of the nicest and most principled people I know. Not many people will go all the way to the mat on principle. Josh is a rare exception. Unfortunately, we need more rate exceptions as our freedoms slowly erode.
- Chronology of events leading up to Josh’s incarceration
- Video of Josh speaking about his case outside the courthouse
- Heated discussion on Scobleizer on the merits of this