Reporter defeats gov. intimidation

Sarah Olson, the independent journalist who interviewed Lt. Ehren Watada, an officer who refuses to deploy to Iraq, took a stand when the U.S. Army began to use her interview to build its case against him, even subpoenaing her to testify.

On AlterNet recently, she wrote:


Among multiple issues this raises, the circumstance begs a central question: Doesn't it fly in the face of the First Amendment to compel a journalist to participate in a government prosecution against a source, particularly in matters related to personal political speech?
The intention is obvious. In the case against Lieutenant Watada, the U.S. Army is attempting to use a journalist as an investigative tool for their prosecution. In this case, the journalist is me. And I wholly object to this attempt at eliciting my forced and unconstitutional participation.
Yesterday, the Honolulu Advertiser reported that the government has dropped two of the charges against Watada, who agreed upfront to all the questions that would've been asked to Olson.

Olson, who will no longer have to testify, wrote:

This is obviously a great victory for the principles of a free press that are so essential to this nation. Personally, I am pleased that the Army no longer seeks my participation in their prosecution of Lieutenant Watada. Far more importantly, this should be seen as a victory for the rights of journalists in the U.S. to gather and disseminate news free from government intervention, and for the rights of individuals to express personal, political opinions to journalists without fear of retribution or censure. I am glad the growing number of dissenting voices within the military will retain their rights to speak with reporters. But I note with concern that Lt. Watada still faces prosecution for exercising his First Amendment rights during public presentations. However, the preservation of these rights clearly requires vigilance. Journalists are subpoenaed with an alarming frequency, and when they do not cooperate they are sometimes imprisoned. Videographer Josh Wolf has languished in federal prison for over 160 days, after refusing to give federal grand jury investigators his unpublished video out takes. It is clear that we must continue to demand that the separation between press and government be strong, and that the press be a platform for all perspectives, regardless of their popularity with the current administration.
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