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Society of Professional Journalists

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Society of Professional Journalists

http://www.spj.org/norcal/

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUST 1, 2006

 

Contacts:

 

Matthew Hirsch

SPJ NorCal Freedom of Information Committee Co-chair

(415)749-5451, mhirsch (AT) alm.com

 

Thomas R. Burke

SPJ NorCal Freedom of Information Committee Co-chair

(415) 276-6552, (415) 519-3406 (cell), thomasburke (AT) dwt.com

 

Linda Jue

SPJ NorCal Chapter President

(415) 445-0230, x107, diversity (AT) indypress.org.

 

 

SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS SUPPORTS FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF VIDEOGRAPHER JOSHUA WOLF

 

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists reiterated its support today of San Francisco video journalist Joshua Wolf's First Amendment rights.

 

Wolf is fighting civil contempt charges and possible jail time for refusing to give a federal grand jury his unedited footage of an anti-war demonstration last year.

 

"A video journalist's unedited tape is like a reporter's notebook," said Linda Jue, SPJ NorCal chapter president. "Government attempts to intimidate journalists such as Josh Wolf are getting more frequent these days, and that raises frightening implications for the public's right to know. If newsmakers have to regard journalists as involuntary detectives for the police, then journalists will lose access to sources, and the public will lose access to the kinds of vital information it needs to make democracy work."

 

SPJ Freedom of Information Committee co-chair Thomas R. Burke added, "Wolf and a minority of journalists cover unpopular and dissenting views in America. If Wolf is imprisoned, all journalists will be at greater risk to face the same treatment. The public must appreciate that jailing reporters directly affects and limits the kind of information

they can receive." Attorney Burke is co-author of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California's amicus curiae brief in the Wolf case.

 

The national SPJ Legal Defense Fund has contributed $1,000 to help defray Wolf's legal costs.

 

Wolf is slated to appear Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 9 a.m. in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge William H. Alsup in San Francisco.

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