By JULIE KRIENKE
The imprisonment of American journalist Joshua Wolf by a Federal district court due to resistance in turning over a collection of videotapes demonstrates how unjust and self-absorbed the federal government has become in recent years, especially when dealing with journalistic issues in the United States.
As far as I am concerned, Wolf was practicing freedom of the press, a right ensured in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, when he posted clips of an anti-G8 anarchist protest in San Francisco, California, on his personal blog. After the protest took place July 8, 2005, Wolf was assured that he would not have to testify about the footage if he posted the video clips on his blog.
What's more, Wolf only posted footage of the protest on his personal blog, and it would have been different if the video clips had actually been published on a different news medium. However, a blog is simply a set of entries that is maintained by one individual, usually consisting of comments about recent news events.
Because a blog tells about recent news from an individual's perspective, it is a legitimate source of news. Individuals who post their own blogs or comment on another individual's blog are utilizing their freedom of speech to express opinions and thoughts. News is anything that will make people talk and inform individuals about information they previously did not know, and a blog is a form of news because it does just that.
There is no doubt that Josh Wolf is a clear example of what a journalist should be today, as he faced eight months in a federal prison simply to protect the freedom he had to record a public protest and sell some of the videos to television broadcast stations. Wolf captured exciting and immediate news about a significant event and posted the information on his blog in order to inform the public about that particular event, which is exactly what journalists are meant to do.
The mainstream media have recognized that the federal government simply wanted to demonstrate their unlimited amount of power through their actions and involvement in the Wolf case. Members of the Society for Professional Journalists even awarded Wolf with a Journalist of the Year award for promoting freedom of the press.