Tuesday, February 13, 2007

SPJ honors journalists hit with subpoenas

The Northern California Society of Professional Journalists chapter will honor four Bay Area journalists who have waged separate campaigns to resist government subpoenas in defense of the First Amendment right to freedom of the press.

"As freelance journalists Josh Wolf and Sarah Olson, and San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams discovered, government officials over the past year have aggressively challenged journalists’ rights to protect confidential sources and refuse testimony in court proceedings that would undermine the independent free press," the SPJ chapter said in a news release. To date, Wolf has spent more than 176 days (see top right) behind bars.

Other winners include:
    • the Mercury News for championing open government in San Jose;

    • the San Mateo County Times for forcing health officials to report facilities where patients suffered from norovirus;

    • the Oakland Tribune's Michele Marcucci and Rebecca Veseley for exposing substandard care received by disabled and autistic patients in private-care homes;

    • Meera Pal from the Contra Costa Times for delving into an e-mail scandal involving Pleasanton's mayor and another council candidate;

    • reporters from the Chronicle were honored for showing how the city's police department has failed to control its officers' use of physical force;

    • Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who blew the whistle on the federal government’s warrantless wiretapping program,

    • and student journalists at Lowell High School in San Francisco.
These Madison Award winners will be recognized March 13 at Biscuits and Blues restaurant near San Francisco’s Union Square district. Visit www.spj.org/norcal or call (415) 749-5451 for ticket information or more details.

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