June 2007 FAP Newsletter
“At a time when access to information, and free speech and press freedom are all under attack, First Amendment Project should be cherished and supported as an essential resource, both for independent journalists and the community at large.”
– Sarah Olson, independent journalist
Acclaimed independent print and radio journalist Sarah Olson found herself on the witness list in the Army’s court martial proceedings against Lt. Ehren Watada. Olson was one of the first journalists to interview Lt. Watada, the officer who criticized the Iraq War and who would later refuse to deploy to Iraq. The Army charged Lt. Watada with “conduct unbecoming an officer” based on his statements to Olson and others, and Olson was served a subpoena to testify at the court martial. First Amendment Project represented Olson pro bono.
“Thanks to their superlative advice, I had access to the full range of information I needed in order to make what amounted to a very personal decision,” said Olson. The subpoena was ultimately withdrawn without Olson having to testify.
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"First Amendment Project’s commitment to free speech and justice is unparalleled. Without their invaluable and pro-bono assistance I would likely still be in jail today. I am eternally grateful for the help and guidance they provided."
-- Josh Wolf, independent journalist/blogger
When freelance journalist/documentarian/blogger, Josh Wolf, was finally released from federal prison after 228 days of confinement, First Amendment Project was at his side. Wolf had been held in contempt of court for refusing to comply with a federal court subpoena calling for his testimony and unpublished video of a protest.
First Amendment Project joined Wolf’s legal team as he appealed the contempt order, and stayed with him during his confinement – which served as the longest confinement of a journalist on contempt charges in recent U.S. history. First Amendment Project took the lead in securing Wolf’s release after the federal government dropped its demand that Wolf testify before the grand jury.
Since 1992, First Amendment Project has provided pro bono legal representation to independent journalists such as Sarah Olson and Josh Wolf who lack the financial and legal backing of a major media organization. First Amendment Project has also represented numerous activists, advocates, artists and other nonprofit organizations who either have been sued for exercising their free speech and free press rights or file lawsuits to enforce their rights to speak, publish, and access governmental records and proceedings.
First Amendment Project is the only nonprofit organization in the country dedicated to providing free legal services exclusively on free speech and free press issues.
First Amendment Project relies on private donations to continue to offer free legal services to this constituency that would otherwise be without legal representation. We need your help so that we can continue to help others.
Please make a donation today. To celebrate our successes in this first half of 2007, First Amendment Project is asking its supporters to sign up for recurring donations of at least $4 a month. Your $4 a month donation will go a long way to helping First Amendment Project promote free speech and free press rights. Click here to sign up right now.
A CHALLENGE TO OUR SUPPORTERS: Already a First Amendment Project supporter? Then accept our challenge: Recruit five friends to sign up as recurring donors at least the $4 a month level. We will reward you with a special notice in our next newsletter and a free gift.