CJFE condemns imprisonment of San Francisco Journalist

Friday, August 4, 2006

The Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) condemns the jailing of American video blogger Joshua Wolf who was found in contempt of court for withholding footage he had shot of protests at the G8 economic conference in June 2005. Wolf posted some of the footage on his blog, www.joshwolf.net/blog and also sold footage to local television stations in San Francisco.The tapes were subpoenaed because it was believed that they contained footage of a protestor setting fire to a police car. Wolf, 24, could be imprisoned for up to 11 months.U.S. District Judge William Alsup argues that because Wolf's footage was shot in a public area and does not involve confidential sources there is no reason to withhold it.CJFE is extremely concerned whenever police coop journalists and the information they've gathered for criminal investigations. "This is a very worrisome practice," says CJFE President Arnold Amber. "When journalists are used as an extension of the police, free expression is imperilled and the public's ability to receive transparent and complete information is endangered," he added.CJFE has also noted a recent case of the same nature in Canada. Earlier this year, the police ordered Bill Dunphy of The Hamilton Spectator to turn over his interviews with drug dealer Paul Gravelle to assist them in the investigation of a 1998 murder. Fortunately, the court rule in Dunphy's favour and he was neither fined nor sentence to any time in jail.According to Joshua's blog, his lawyer is planning on filing an appeal to the judge's decision that he be held without bail. He is currently residing in Dublin federal prison, in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay.CJFE is an association of more than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and around the world. For more information, contact Julie Payne at (416) 515-9622 or send an e-mail.

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