News Release: Growing Coalition Demands the Army Withdraw Its Subpoena of Journalist Sarah Olson


CONTACT: Scott Goodstein, Defend The Press, 202-256-8320, email: sgcatalyst AT; John Stauber, Center for Media and Democracy, 608-260-9713, email: john AT

Growing Coalition Demands the Army Withdraw Its Subpoena of Journalist Sarah Olson

Prominent Journalists, Media Organizations and Thousands of Citizens Defend the Press

Madison, WI, Jan. 29 -- A groundswell of national organizations as well as hundreds of prominent journalists and thousands of citizens are joining Defend The Press, a new coalition to support journalist Sarah Olson in her efforts to reject a US Army subpoena.

The subpoena from the President of the United States was formally served to Olson requiring her testimony at the February 5th Court-Martial of Lieutenant Ehren Watada.

"Defend The Press coalition is calling on the US military prosecution to stop hauling journalists into military courtrooms," said John Stauber, Executive Director of the non-profit Center for Media and Democracy. "This appears to be a blatant effort to intimidate and harass reporters who are simply doing their job of reporting on, in this case, the growing opposition to the war in Iraq within the rank and file military."

The Army prosecution subpoenaed Olson because of the exclusive story she wrote about Lt. Ehren Watada just before he became the highest-ranking member of the military to refuse to deploy to Iraq.

"Forcing journalists to testify in military court turns us into the investigative arm of the government," said journalist Sarah Olson. "It threatens press freedoms, silences debate, and erodes the barrier between press and government. I am honored and encouraged that so many of my own role models have lent their voice to my fight. With such a diverse coalition of voices demanding a press free of government intervention, we cannot lose."

The Society of Professional Journalists, PEN American Center, the editorial board of the LA Times, the National Press Club, Mother Jones Magazine, Media Alliance and many others have denounced the subpoenas.

The Defend The Press ( coalition, founded by the Center for Media and Democracy, now lists as its supporters notable journalists, authors and free speech activists including Phil Donahue, producer and commentator; Sydney Schanberg, author; Linda K. Foley, president, The Newspaper Guild-CWA; Larry Gross, director, School of Communication, Annenberg School, USC; Tony Kushner, playwright; Robert McChesney, founder, Free Press; Geneva Overholser, professor, University of Missouri School of Journalism; Gloria Steinem, publisher, journalist; Jerry Zremski, journalist and president, National Press Club.

For a complete list of Coalition members visit:

For more information visit: