Defend the Press
"Hailed as a major success of five years of democracy-building, media freedom in Afghanistan is under increasing pressures," writes Alisa Tang. A spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said, "We've moved from an open media environment to a state-controlled media environment." A proposed law would increase government power over media outlets and make reporting "humiliating and offensive" news a criminal offense.
"Bay Media Lab host Howard Vicini will present new video evidence during a Friday night broadcast on San Francisco cable access in the case against vBlogger Josh Wolf, who has been held in coercive confinement for more than 200 days, a new U.S. record for a journalist, for refusing to turn over raw video he shot of a San Francisco protest rally in 2005, that was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury.
While fleeing an ambush in Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers reportedly opened fire on civilian cars and pedestrians and then destroyed photos and video taken at the scene by freelance journalists.
Mike Barber reports "the court-martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada ended in a mistrial Wednesday. The case's judge, Lt. Col. John Head, declared the trial over after a day of wrangling over a stipulation of facts that Watada had signed before the trial and that would have been part of the instructions to the jury. The judge decided that Watada never intended when he signed the stipulation to mean that he had a duty to go to Iraq with his unit.
Sometimes it takes setting some sort of record to be noticed. The New York Times observes that Josh Wolf has become "the longest incarcerated journalist in modern American history" passing "Vanessa Leggett... Mr. Wolf, 24, has been in prison since August, with a brief break in September related to his appeal, after refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigation of an anticapitalist protest in 2005 ... . Prosecutors have demanded that Mr.
CONTACT: John Stauber, Center for Media and Democracy, 608-260-9713; Scott Goodstein, Defend the Press Coalition, 202-256-8320, http://www.DefendThePress.org
News Conference with Sarah Olson and Supporters
WHEN: 2pm, Thursday, February 1, 2007
WHERE: Zenger Room, National Press Club, Washington, DC