Josh Wolf represents the heart of journalism

by ANNELYSE HARRISON

Once again the government has managed to stick its big nose where it doesn't belong.
Josh Wolf, 24-year-old blogger, was added to the growing list of journalists imprisoned for protecting their sources. Wolf was jailed on Aug. 1, 2006 after refusing to testify in front of a grand jury and turn over a series of videotapes he recorded during an anti-G8 anarchist protest in San Francisco on July 8, 2005.

Wolf was held in jail for a total of 226 days, the longest of any journalist in U.S. history for protecting source materials. He was released April 3, 2007 after agreeing to hand over the tapes in exchange for not having to testify.

So why did the FBI want Wolf's tapes? What was so important that they would undermine the First Amendment and infringe on the freedom of press?

During the protest, Wolf was thought to have filmed protests damaging a police car. Since the protestors were masked, and Wolf supposedly knew some of their identities, FBI targeted Wolf, hoping to uncover possible suspects.

So how far is too far? Should the government be able to use the media like this?
According to Christine Tatum, the president of the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ), Wolf should be honored for standing up against the government. "He deserves profound respect for enduring imprisonment to protect journalism. Josh has rightly insisted that journalists should not be considered arms of law enforcement," Tatum said.

The SPJ was a strong supporter of Wolf, raising money to cover many of his legal and personal expenses.

Many members of the mainstream media hesitated to support Wolf. Some even went as far as claiming Wolf as a publicity stunt, not a journalist. According to Wolf, they only hesitated because they didn't realize the seriousness.

The definition of journalist varies among everyone. I believe a journalist is someone who delivers the news with honesty and integrity. Wolf represents the heart of journalism. As an independent journalist, he worked hard to capture and deliver news, in hopes someone, somewhere will read it. Isn't that the true definition of a journalist's goal?

The government has its way of squeezing its way into the cracks of humanity¬ł finding loop holes around laws it's created. The First Amendment may protect the freedom of press, but as A.J. Liebling put it, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."

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This page contains a single entry by Jour 2101 published on November 21, 2010 3:55 PM.

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