Free-Press Event Honors WSJ’s Jailed Evan Gershkovich

From a Wall Street Journal story by Talal Ansari headlined “Free-Press Event Honors WSJ’s Jailed Evan Gershkovich”:

An event about the risks facing foreign correspondents and global press freedom was held in honor of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

The Atlantic Council event “Reporters at Risk: In Honor of Evan Gershkovich” brought together a panel of journalists and press advocates, including reporters who had been held by foreign governments.

“We want to raise awareness of the plight of journalists in danger around the world, in particular Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich, who remains detained in a Russian prison since his arrest on false charges of espionage,” said Adrienne Arsht, executive vice chair of the Atlantic Council. “We will continue these presentations until Evan returns.”

Gershkovich, a 32-year-old American citizen accredited to work as a foreign correspondent by Russian authorities, was arrested by officers from Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, during a reporting trip in the city of Yekaterinburg on March 29. He is being held on an allegation of espionage that he, the Journal and the U.S. government vehemently deny.

The U.S. government has designated Gershkovich as wrongfully detained and has demanded his immediate release. Russian courts have denied appeals by his lawyers and ordered him held in pretrial detention until at least Nov. 30. Russia has said it is acting in accordance with its own laws.

“It’s really hard to believe that our colleague, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, has now been wrongfully detained for more than six months,” Almar Latour, chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, said at the event. “That remains an outrageous situation, an appalling situation.”

Latour said Gershkovich’s detention was an alarming attack on press freedom.

“In 2023, journalism is under attack. Make no mistake about it,” he said.

Jodie Ginsberg, president of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said her group had documented a record number of journalists in jail last year, with 363 journalists imprisoned worldwide. Ginsberg said traditionally journalists were imprisoned for their speech or work but now regimes are arresting journalists for accusations of terrorism, spying or issues related to national security.

All participants and moderators—from NBC News’s chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell to John Moore, a senior staff photographer and special correspondent for Getty Images—wore buttons that read “#ISTANDWITHEVAN.”

Journal Assistant Editor Paul Beckett, who is working on efforts to secure Gershkovich’s release, said the reporter is doing all right. “But he works hard to stay all right,” Beckett said.

Gershkovich was reading and writing a lot, in addition to meditating, according to Beckett. And the letters he receives in prison mean “a massive amount.”

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