Sarah Olson and Supporters Speak about Press Freedom in Watada Case at National Press Club on Thursday, February 1st

CONTACT: John Stauber, Center for Media and Democracy, 608-260-9713; Scott Goodstein, Defend the Press Coalition, 202-256-8320,

News Conference with Sarah Olson and Supporters

WHEN: 2pm, Thursday, February 1, 2007

WHERE: Zenger Room, National Press Club, Washington, DC


  • Sarah Olson, journalist released from US Army subpoena in Watada court martial case
  • Linda K. Foley, president, The Newspaper Guild-CWA
  • Jerry Zremski, President, National Press Club (invited)
  • John Stauber, author, executive director, Center for Media and Democracy
  • Scott Goodstein, coordinator, Defend The Press campaign

On Monday, January 21, US Army prosecutors dropped two court martial charges against anti-war activist Lt. Ehren Watada, and then released from subpoena two journalists including Sarah Olson of Oakland, California.

The army's decision came in the face of an organized campaign launched by the newly-created Defend The Press coalition five days earlier. The campaign, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy, succeeded in mobilizing scores of notable journalists, authors, and media organizations asking the Army to drop its subpoenas of the journalists. Thousands of concerned citizens sent emails directly to the trial.

"This is a big win for all journalists," said Jerry Zremski, president of the National Press Club, which took a stand last week against the Army's subpoena of Olson. "When the government tries to drag reporters into court to testify about their work, it undermines their ability to freely report the news -- and that means it undermines the First Amendment. The victory we achieved here is a sign that we can fight -- and win -- these battles for a free press."

The Defend The Press coalition counts among its supporters scores of notable journalists, authors and free speech advocates including Phil Donahue, producer and commentator; Sydney Schanberg, author; Linda K. Foley, president, The Newspaper Guild-CWA; Larry Gross, director, School of Communication, Annenberg School, USC; Tony Kushner, playwright; Robert McChesney, founder, Free Press; Geneva Overholser, professor, University of Missouri School of Journalism; and Gloria Steinem, publisher, journalist.