Sarah Olson and Leaders of 'Defend the Press' Call for Freeing Josh Wolf

Sarah Olson, the journalist who with the Defend The Press coalition successfully fought a US Army subpoena in the Court Martial of Ehren Watada, is now very publicly supporting efforts to free the young jailed videographer Josh Wolf. She is speaking today at a rally in San Francisco, and other prominent leaders of Defend The Press coalition are also adding their voices to free Josh Wolf.

Josh Wolf now holds the unfortunate record of being the longest jailed journalist in US history. While his case has drawn very little attention outside of California, that might be changing. Also speaking out today are Linda Foley, president of The Newspaper Guild; Jerry Zremski, president of the National Press Club; and Lucie Morillon, the Washington, DC, director of Reporters Without Borders.

Josh's cause has long had the support of press freedom and journalism organizations including the ACLU, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Now, as his incarceration sets records, and in the wake of Sarah Olson's victory against US Army prosecutors, there seems to be a growing awareness of Josh Wolf's case, as evidenced by today's article in the New York Times.

Below is a news release from supporters of Josh Wolf:

Available for Comment:
Linda Foley, President, The Newspaper Guild/CWA, 202-434-1261
Lucie Morillon, Washington Director, Reporters Without Borders, 202-256-5613
Christine Tatum, President, Society of Professional Journalists, 303-881-8702
Sarah Olson, independent journalist, 415-298-5573
Julian Davis, Free Josh Wolf Coalition, 415-823-3250

Josh Wolf becomes longest jailed journalist in US history

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Josh Wolf, named northern California's 2006 journalist of the year by Society of Professional Journalists, broke the record for the longest amount of time a reporter has spent in jail protecting his sources. Journalist and professional organizations are denouncing his continued imprisonment.

“The 169th day of Josh Wolf’s incarceration marks another alarming milestone in the struggle for press freedom in post-9/11 America,” said Linda Foley, president of The Newspaper Guild/CWA. “What was once a cherished constitutional mandate that journalists operate free from government interference increasingly has come under attack.”

“Josh is fighting a brave battle that an increasing number of journalists in the US are facing today,” said Jerry Zremski, president of the National Press Club. Chillingly, many journalists must battle to keep their reporting from becoming a tool that prosecutors can use to further their cases.”

“Keeping Wolf in jail is absurd and cruel,” said Lucie Morillon, Washington director at Reporters Without Borders. “It is a bad signal sent to the rest of the world. We would have expected a democratic country such as the United States to put the bar higher regarding press freedom.”

“Josh should be protected by the California shield law, and this should never have become a federal case. He has neither broken the law, nor been convicted of a crime,” said Sarah Olson, an independent journalist recently subpoenaed by the US Army. “The Department of Justice should release Wolf from prison immediately.”

The 24-year-old independent journalist sold his footage of a 2005 San Francisco demonstration to the nightly news. The broadcast attracted the attention of local and federal law enforcement agents who later served Wolf a federal subpoena requiring his unpublished video footage and testimony. When he refused to comply he was charged with contempt of court and incarcerated.

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