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Josh Wolf May Be Freed Today
Josh Wolf writes on his blog this morning, "During the course of this saga I have repeatedly offered to allow a judge to be the arbiter over whether or not my video material has any evidentiary value. Today, you the public have the opportunity to be the judge and I am confident you will see, as I do, that there is nothing of value in this unpublished footage."
THE PUBLIC CAN NOW JUDGE WOLF'S VIDEO - COURAGE
by Howard Vicini
San Francisco - Lawyer's for imprisoned vBlogger, Josh Wolf, and the federal prosecutor filed separate motions to release Wolf from coercive custody before U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero, on Monday, fueling speculation that the 24 year old journalist will be freed as soon as today. Though Wolf's representatives are still under a gag order imposed by the magistrate at at the beginning of mediation last month, another clear indication of progress came when Wolf released his unedited video on his blog site this morning.
The unedited video was the target of the federal grand jury subpoena that caused him to be held at the federal holding facility, in Dublin CA, now at 226 days, a record amount of time for any coercive action against a journalist in the United States history.
At the beginning of public controversy surrounding the case, Wolf successfully invoked the California shield law causing prosecutors to move the case to federal jurisdiction under a controversial homeland security claim and debate erupted over whether or not the 24 year old Wolf held a fair claim to being a journalist. Still a student at the time he shot the video in 2005, he was at the very least an aspiring journalist by any standard with sales of some video to local broadcasters under his belt.
Therefore, what seemed to be driving the debate was Wolf's own admission that he is a member of the group, Anarchist Action, that he was covering as the principal organizers of the protest against a G-8 meeting being held in Scotland, raising the specter that the case was a federal attempt to censure a journalist because of his beliefs. Though the debate over the status of bloggers as journalists was raised to the lofty heights of the New York Times and the Washington Post by journalists on both sides of the issue, professional journalism organizations weighed in heavily in support of Wolf with awards and monetary support to his defense fund that dwarfed his experience.
As Wolf's heroic contribution to the cause of a free press may be about to come to an end, the debate is sure to continue and one expects that Wolf has been handed a voice that he will use to share a personal victory with all who value freedom of the press throughout the world. With it comes another lesson to leaders who too often forget that the heart of a free people beats not in a document, or in a seat of power, but in those who stand up for liberty against oppression.