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Friday, August 04, 2006

Free Josh Wolf, and Protect the First Amendment

If you visit this blog regularly, you know that it doesn't get political very often. (I can't think of an occasion, in fact.)

Until now...

Josh Wolf, one of the members of San Francisco's indie video production community, is in federal prison for refusing to turn over videotapes of an unruly anarchist protest (is there any other kind?) that took place last summer. (Josh himself is a self-proclaimed anarchist, so he wasn't necessarily at the protest as an objective reporter.)

If the government can demand and obtain reporters' material, that chisels away at the foundation of the work that reporters do...and this includes documentary filmmakers. How close will your subjects and interviewees let you get, if they believe that government agencies can easily request and obtain all of your footage and notes?

The San Francisco Chronicle says it best in an editorial that ran yesterday: "Journalists are not agents of the government." Period.

Josh's site is here, where you can read about the case, and, if you choose, donate to his legal defense fund.


  • i don't see how this include documentary filmmakers. it seems a little strange to argue that its not o.k. for the government to see footage that is being shot for inclusion in a piece of work obviously intended to be viewed by the public.

    and i don't know the details of josh's situation, but isn't the "it's protecting a source," argument more akin to not revealing who shot the footage?

    By Blogger deepstructure, at 7:59 PM  

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