Evan Gershkovich: 100 days in jail is 100 days too long
At the 100-day mark of journalist Evan Gershkovich’s detention in Russia, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the US Government to do everything in its power to secure the Wall Street Journal reporter’s release.
Evan Gershkovich was arrested in western Siberia on March 29, 2023. Russia has charged the Wall Street Journal reporter with espionage although he is clearly being held as a hostage of the state. RSF urges the US Government to do everything in its power to secure Gershkovich’s release without further delay
“One hundred days in jail is 100 days too long to punish a journalist for simply doing journalism. RSF calls for Gershkovich’s immediate release and stands with his family during this difficult time. His detention marked a new escalation in Putin’s war on the free press, expanding his crackdown beyond Russia’s domestic media which has already been drastically weakened.
Despite the widespread international outcry over Gershkovich’s arrest, Russia has not budged towards freeing the journalist. In June, a Moscow court extended his period of pretrial detention. On July 4, the US Ambassador to Russia visited Gershkovich in prison, and reported that he appeared to be in good health. RSF has called on the UN to take up his case.
Gershkovich’s parents had fled the Soviet Union for the United States, but he returned to Russia and made Moscow his second home. His Wall Street Journal colleagues characterize him as a “passionate and steadfast journalist”.
Russia has routinely cracked down on free speech, even more so after its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russian authorities routinely use fines and short-term detentions to intimidate journalists. The media are also under threat of arbitrary inclusion on the list of “foreign agents,” a status that comes with heavy bureaucratic hurdles and legal risks, or on the list of “undesirable organizations,” de facto shutting them down in Russia.
Faced with additional risks incurred since the start of the war in Ukraine, hundreds of Russian journalists working for independent media outlets were forced into exile.
Russia is ranked 164 out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.