With one journalist in jail and two more headed that direction, California Legislators — in an unusual unanimous vote — have called on Congress to enact a federal shield law for the protection of all journalists. California and 49 states have shield laws, but the absence of a federal shield law puts all journalists at risk, said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (pictured), D-Santa Rosa, who authored resolution AJR 31. Freelance photographer Josh Wolf is in jail because he refused to provide portions of a videotape he shot of an anarchist protest to a federal grand jury. The tape showed a San Francisco police officer being assaulted. If SFPD had asked Wolf for his tape, he could have refused and stayed out of jail because of the state shield law. But the protest is being investigated by a federal grand jury, and a judge said the state shield law doesn’t apply in federal cases. Similarly, Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada are refusing to reveal their sources in the Barry Bonds steroids case, and since the case is federal, the state’s shield law won’t keep them out of jail either. The Legislature’s resolution passed by a 76-0 vote in the Assembly and a 40-0 vote in the Senate.

SF Press Club News

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