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Friday, January 26, 2007

National Press Club Defends Subpoenaed Reporters

The National Press Club announced its opposition to the U.S. Army's subpoenas of Oakland, Calif., freelance journalist Sarah Olson and Honolulu Star Bulletin reporter Gregg Kakesako.

The subpoenas call for the reporters to testify at the Feb. 5 court martial of Army Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq and made several disparaging remarks about the conduct of the war. A petition calling for the dismissal of the subpoena has been posted online.

"The National Press Club vehemently opposes any effort to subpoena reporters over their work," says NPC President Jerry Zremski, Washington bureau chief for The Buffalo News. "Subpoenaing reporters in an effort to make the prosecution's case -- particularly when the charge involves free speech issues -- is abhorrent and grossly perverts the foundation of press freedom this nation is built on."

The National Press Club, founded in 1908, has more than 3,700 members in Washington, D.C., and worldwide. Widely known for its Speaker Luncheon Series, televised by C-SPAN, and its public forums for visiting heads of state, the NPC also is Washington's most frequently used venue for news conferences. The NPC conducts an aggressive program of professional education for journalists, funds scholarships for journalism students ofcolor, and operates the nation's only non-academic research library for journalists. Advocacy of a free press is one of the club's central missions.

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