Saturday, May 7, 2011

Student journalist sanctioned for covering protest

Josh Wolf
A UC-Berkeley disciplinary panel has concluded that journalism student Josh Wolf should not have been inside Wheeler Hall on Nov. 20, 2009, during an 11-hour student occupation over tuition hikes even though, the panel acknowledged, he was filming the protest as a journalist.

As Nanette Asimov of the Chronicle put it: Guilty verdicts for practicing journalism are the stuff of authoritarian nations and now, apparently, UC Berkeley.

The panel ordered Wolf, who graduates today (May 7) with a master’s degree in journalism, to write a five-page essay to help the administration establish a clear policy on the rights of student journalists.

"I'm more than happy to do anything I can to remedy the situation for future journalists," said Wolf, 28. "But it seems absurd to make it my punishment. (I'm) a consultant without pay under threat of not getting my diploma."

Wolf served seven months in federal prison in 2006 and 2007 after refusing to turn over unedited footage of a demonstration in San Francisco showing the torching of a police car. He eventually posted the footage on the Internet. (Also see coverage by the Daily Cal and Contra Costa Times/BANG.)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope Berkeley doesn't adopt special rules for journalists. Then we get into the issue of who UC thinks should be a credentialed journalist, and they're not going to give credentials to people they don't like. Apply the same trespassing rules to everyone, regardless of whether they're gathering news, protesting or just watching.

Anonymous said...

What a stupid sentence. I'm not saying lock him up, but if that's the punishment, why bother charging him?