Doug Ireland and Friends Defend the Press

Journalist Doug Ireland writes today on his blog Direland, "I was more than happy to lend my name in support of Sarah Olson's courageous and principled refusal to join in the prosecution effort to send Lt. Watada to jail, so I asked a number of my journalist and writer friends to join me in signing a statement against the military's attempt to subpoena Olson and other journalists, and most of them -- like sportswriter and HBO boxing commentator Larry Merchant, Pulitizer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, best-selling author John Berendt, and Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist Sydney Schanberg (hero of the movie "The Killing Fields," based on his book about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouges)-- said yes. Schanberg wrote me: 'Yes, Doug, please add my name to the appeal. Sarah Olson's principled stand is a crucial one at a time when the mainstream press is bargaining away, in bigger and bigger chunks, the privacy of reporters' notebooks, confidential conversations, e-mails, infinitum. Her professional product has been published and is available to the government. As she says, reporters betray their role as fact-seekers for the public if they are forced -- through threat of imprisonment -- to become agents of a particular government's agenda."