Internet journalists are being imprisoned in ever greater numbers, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. For the first time, two bloggers have been imprisoned, Arash Sigarchi and Joshua Wolf.
Arash Sigarchi, freelance
IMPRISONED: January 26, 2006
Sigarchi, a former editor of the daily newspaper Gilan-e-Emruz and a Web blogger, was sentenced to three years in prison by an Iranian appellate court on several offenses, including insulting Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and propagandizing against the Islamic Republic in his online blog.
Sigarchi had posted entries and given interviews to Western radio stations that were critical of the government’s harassment of fellow bloggers. He was originally given a 14-year sentence by a revolutionary court in Gilan in February 2005.
UNITED STATES: 1
Joshua Wolf, freelance
IMPRISONED: September 1, 2006
Wolf, a freelance blogger and videographer, was jailed in San Francisco for refusing to turn over to a federal grand jury a videotape of a 2005 protest.
The case pending in a federal appellate court hinges on whether Wolf has a First Amendment or common law right not to turn over his videotape. On August 1, a federal judge ordered him to jail for refusing to turn over the tape. He was incarcerated for 30 days before a two-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered him free on bail while his appeal was pending. On September 11, a three-judge panel for the same appellate court revoked Wolf’s bail at the prosecution’s request. He returned to jail on September 22 even as his appeal was pending.
Wolf taped clashes between demonstrators and San Francisco police during a June 2005 protest by anarchists against a Group of Eight economic conference. Wolf sold footage of the protest to San Francisco television stations and posted it on his Web site. Investigators are seeking Wolf’s testimony and portions of his videotape that were not broadcast. A federal grand jury is investigating possible criminal activity, including an alleged attempt by protestors to burn a police vehicle.