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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.)

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