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Defend the Press! Sarah Olson Needs Support!

Subpoenaed by the shrub to testify against Lt. Ehren Watada, Sarah Olson and independent journalists everywhere are in dire need of support.



The Center for Media and Democracy today launched Defend The Press, a new coalition of journalists, public interest groups, academics and citizen activists. Defend The Press is asking the US Army to drop its subpoena of Sarah Olson, an independent print and radio journalist based in Oakland, California, in the court martial of Iraq war resister Lieutenant Ehren Watada. Olson interviewed Watada in May 2006, and in June he announced he would not go to war in Iraq, challenging its legality. Watada's Army court martial begins February 5, 2007, at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Sarah needs your help. Visit the Defend The Press website at www.DefendThePress.org to support her!

Sarah Olson has been served with a subpoena from the President of the United States requiring her to be a prosecution witness against Lieutenant Watada. The subpoena states "failure to appear may result in your being taken into custody and brought before the court martial." Olson risks felony charges, jail and a fine if she fails to cooperate.

Sarah Olson recently wrote in an editorial column, "I stand firmly by a conviction I share with many: a member of the press should never be placed in the position of aiding a government prosecution of political speech. This goes against the grain of even the most basic understanding of the First Amendment's free press guarantees and the expectation of a democracy that relies on a free flow of information and perspectives without fear of censure or retribution."

Defend The Press believes journalists should not be forced to participate in government prosecutions ? especially prosecutions seeking to criminalize political speech. Defend The Press supports Sarah Olson and journalists like her; independent journalists especially need stronger protection of their rights in the age of the Internet.

If you are outraged by this attack on freedom of the press, get involved! Visit the Defend The Press website at www.DefendThePress.org to join the campaign!

Among the dozens of noted journalists and authors participating in Defend The Press are Noam Chomsky, Phil Donahue, Daniel Ellsberg, Barbara Ehrenreich, Diane Farsetta, Laura Flanders, Robert McChesney, Greg Palast, Sheldon Rampton and Howard Zinn. Read what they are saying here.

Defend The Press was founded by the non-profit Center for Media and Democracy of Madison, Wisconsin, and by Free Press Working Group of Oakland, California, in the belief that the press cannot function if it is used by the government to prosecute political speech. Turning reporters into the investigative arm of the government subverts press freedoms, and chills dissenting speech in the United States.

If you believe that journalists should serve the public, not government agendas, visit the Defend The Press website at www.DefendthePress.org to make your voice heard!

For more information, visit the Defend The Press website at www.DefendThePress.org, or contact the Center for Media and Democracy by email at editor AT prwatch.org, or by phone at 608-260-9713.

The Center for Media and Democracy
520 University Avenue, Suite 227 Madison, Wisconsin 53703
Phone: 608-260-9713
Email: editor@prwatch.org