E&P reports that 50 prominent media figures have signed a petition challenging a U.S. Army subpoena that demands Oakland freelance journalist Sarah Olson (pictured) testify at the court martial of Lt. Ehren Watada, which begins Feb. 5 at Fort Lewis, Wash. Watada is refusing to deploy to Iraq and Olson interviewed him for the web site truthout.org giving his opinions about the war. Olson is being asked to testify that her article truthfully reported Watada’s comments. Olson says she shouldn’t be forced to cooperate with the prosecution of a person she interviewed for a news story. “My contention is that when you ask a journalist to participate in the prosecution of personal political speech, you are turning the journalist into the investigative arm of the government,” she told E&P.
Olson says the petition signers include Phil Donahue, columnist Norman Solomon, radio host Laura Flanders, and former Washington Post ombudsman Geneva Overholser. She said anyone can sign on once the statement and petition, which can be found at www.defendthepress.org.