August 04, 2006

Vlogger's jailing sparks free speech debate

The story of Josh Wolf, who this week became the first known blogger to be jailed for refusing to hand over source materials to federal officials, has ignited passionate online discussions about free speech and the roles and rights of citizen journalists and their governing officials.

We happened to have met Wolf, who in addition to being a San Francisco-based freelance journalist and a filmmaker, is also a leader in the growing video blogging movement, which he sees as a "media revolution" that gives people "a viable alternative to commercial TV."

He's now known outside the vlogging world as the 24-year-old in federal prison for refusing to turn over video he took at an anticapitalist protest here last summer, and for refusing to testify before a grand jury looking into accusations that crimes were committed at the protest.

His case, much like the one Apple Computer filed against an Apple enthusiast site that leaked information about an unreleased product, has got people debating the definition of a journalist. But they're also joining the growing "Free Josh Wolf!" rallying cry, heralding him for his principles and encouraging donations to his legal fund.


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