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SPJ Briefs: Army drops Olson subpoena


The U.S. Army has dropped its subpoena of independent journalist Sarah Olson who was ordered in December to testify against Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the first military officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq. Olson was the first to interview Watada, where he criticized the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war. She later learned that the Army expected her to testify in the prosecution against her source. Letting her views be known, Olson explained why she objected .

Supporting Olson in her belief that journalists should never become additional arms of law enforcement, SPJ President Christine Tatum sent a letter to Army prosecutors, explaining why such actions were compromising to a free and unfettered press. Additionally, the Society issued a Freedom of Information Alert to generate awareness of the situation.

Read about how the Society’s efforts led to the prosecution’s surrender:

Lt. Watada prosecutors surrender on journalist subpoenas, Editor and Publisher
Watada faces fewer charges, The News Tribune

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