A Troubling Freedom of Press Case

U.S. District Judge William Alsup sentenced freelance photographer Josh Wolf, 24, to what could be a year in federal prison for contempt of court. Wolf, citing a right to withold unpublished material, refused to surrender a videotape he shot of a 2005 anarchist demonstration, in which a San Francisco police officer suffered a skull fracture at the hands of protesters.

Portions of the tape had been broadcast on network news, but the grand jury wanted the whole thing. Aspiring journalist Wolf’s standing as a professional under the First Amendment was questioned, and federal prosecutors also cited the fact that Wolf had not promised anyone he would not divulge the source of his information.
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