NEW YORK — The arrest of a Wall Street Journal reporter on espionage charges in Russia has news organizations based outside the country weighing for the second time in a year whether the risks of reporting there during wartime are too great.
The Journal and other news outlets continued to press Friday, March 31, 2023, for the release of Evan Gershkovich.
He was taken into custody by Russian security officials a day earlier and accused of spying, charges the newspaper vehemently denies.
More than 30 press freedom groups and news organizations, including the Journal, The New York Times, BBC, The Associated Press, The New Yorker, Time and The Washington Post, signed a letter Friday to Anatoly I. Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the US, expressing concern about “a significant escalation in your government’s anti-press actions.”
“Russia is sending the message that journalism within your borders is criminalized and that foreign correspondents seeking to report from Russia do not enjoy the benefits of the rule of law,” they said.
A reporter for The New York Times who was temporarily in Moscow, Valerie Hopkins, left after Gershkovich’s arrest, the newspaper said.
“This is a significant shift and one that a lot of news outlets that have maintained journalists there will be looking at with alarm,” said Jodie Ginsberg, president of the Committee to Protect Journalists, an advocacy group that promotes press freedom and safety.
Gershkovich’s arrest comes a year after the Russian government, shortly after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, imposed harsh new restrictions on journalists that threatened punishment for reports that went against the Kremlin’s version of events — even forbidding the use of the word “war” to describe the conflict. (AP)
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is escorted by officers from the Lefortovsky court to a bus, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 30, 2023. Russia's top security agency says an American reporter for the Wall Street Journal has been arrested on espionage charges. The Federal Security Service said Thursday that Evan Gershkovich was detained in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg while allegedly trying to obtain classified information. (AP Photo)
April 01, 2023
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