Blogging and Your Freedom of Speech

        Blogger Josh Wolf has become quite famous these past few months. Apparently, he attended an Anarchist rally in San Francisco last summer, and filmed the whole thing. During the rally a cop was injured and a police car was damaged. After posting the footage on his blog, FBI agents showed up at his house, demanded that he give them the tape, and tell them who the people at the rally were. Wolf refused and claimed that since he is an Internet Journalist, he should be protected under the first amendment. However, he was thrown into prison for failure to cooperate with an investigation. After much deliberation he was released on April 3rd, 226 days later. The U.S. Attorney’s Office never thought of Wolf as a journalist. The FBI wanted him to tell them the names of the people responsible for the damage, but Wolf refused. The U.S. Attorney’s Office finally broke down, and said that he did not have to testify. Instead he had to release his footage, and swear that he had no knowledge of any criminal activity at the rally. Wolf agreed.

        The point of this is to let all of you bloggers out there know that you need to be careful of what you post. I tend to agree with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we are not official journalists. Sure we are reporting the truth and giving valid opinions, but if that made us journalists then anyone could be one. We need to be respectful about what we blog, and realize that our words can have consequences.

 

Source: Rolling Stone Magazine

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