In the land of the free, blogging can be a hazardous business:
Freelance video journalist and blogger Josh Wolf will spend his 200th day in prison tomorrow after an attempt at judicial mediation failed yesterday. Both federal judge Joseph Spero, who was handling the mediation attempt, and Wolf’s lawyers declined to give the reasons for its failure.
Wolf will remain in prison for refusing to testify to a federal grand jury and allow it to see his unedited video of a 2005 protest in which a police car was slightly damaged. The grand jury investigation into the attack on the car is currently scheduled to continue until July, but it could be extended until January 2008.
If no further mediation attempt is scheduled and Wolf continues to refuse to cooperate with the grand jury, he will remain in jail until the term of its investigation ends or he completes 18 months in prison, which is the maximum penalty for contempt of court in such a case.
“The failure of this unprecedented mediation is one more blow to professional secrecy for journalists in the United States, which has suffered a great deal at the hands of the federal judicial authorities,” Reporters Without Borders said. “One might have expected that Judge Spero would have agreed to an alternative penalty to prison, which is hard to justify. We hope further mediation will take place soon and that Wolf will be freed.”