About that imprisoned WSJ reporter
Approx two weeks before Russia grabbed Evan, the US grabbed a Brazillian Soccer player suspected of being a Russian Spy. So Russia grabs one of ours. Evan, at the time was found with classified documents examining tank production to estimate the nation's ability to deliver weaponry to the battlefield.
Welcome to the new cold war 2.0. Where we grab each other's guys and then trade for their freedom.
Imprisoned WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich to Receive National Press Club Honor
Press freedom award lauds Gershkovich’s ‘dedication and courage’
By Erin Ailworth and Alexandra Bruell, WSJ
April 6, 2023 10:30 am ET
The National Press Club on Thursday awarded its highest honor for press freedom to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who remains imprisoned in Moscow after being detained by Russian security forces last week during a reporting trip.
The honor, the John Aubuchon Award for Press Freedom, isn’t typically given until the end of the year, but the National Press Club said it decided to announce Mr. Gershkovich as its 2023 honoree now to draw attention to his case and support ongoing efforts to release him.
“Gershkovich has reported with dedication and courage from Russia since 2017, continuing despite the dramatic increase in danger for journalists,” said National Press Club President Eileen O’Reilly and Gil Klein, president of the club’s journalism institute, in a statement to the Journal. “His reporting shone a light on the restrictions Russia was placing on all foreign journalists working in the country.”
Mr. Gershkovich was detained on March 29 while on a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg, nearly 900 miles east of Moscow.
The 31-year-old Mr. Gershkovich remains in Russia’s Lefortovo prison for what Moscow claimed was espionage, which the Journal and the U.S. government vehemently deny. He is the first American journalist to be detained by Russian authorities since 1986.
“Evan is a distinguished member of the free press, and any other suggestions are false,” said Emma Tucker, editor in chief of the Journal. “We deeply appreciate the National Press Club and National Press Club Journalism Institute for standing with Evan as we continue to demand his release.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday he had “no doubt” Mr. Gershkovich was wrongfully detained. The process to reach an official determination on Mr. Gershkovich’s detention is still pending.
In naming Mr. Gershkovich the 2023 Aubuchon honoree, the club lauded his reporting for providing insight into what was happening on the ground in Russia.
Mr. Gershkovich, who is accredited to work as a journalist in Russia by the country’s Foreign Ministry, joined the Journal in January 2022. A month later, Russia invaded Ukraine, and Mr. Gershkovich traveled to the Belarus-Ukraine border. That made him the only American reporter who could see the first wounded Russian forces being taken home.
A sampling of the WSJ reporter’s coverage of Putin’s Russia and a country at war
He has written more than 100 articles since the start of the war, including conversations with families of Russian draftees, a profile of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and many articles about the human toll of the conflict.
In his most recent article, published March 28, just a day before he was detained, Mr. Gershkovich and colleague Georgi Kantchev looked at the unraveling of Russia’s economy as Western sanctions take a toll and government revenue is being squeezed.
Bill McCarren, executive director of the National Press Club, said the organization sometimes chooses to name the honoree for its press freedom award early if doing so might help publicize his or her plight.
In Mr. Gershkovich’s case, Mr. McCarren said, “The help is needed now, so we want to do what we can to call out his situation and stand up next to him.”
The club said it is committed to working toward ensuring his freedom. The award will be formally presented to Mr. Gershkovich later this year at a gala—“hopefully in-person,” the club said.
Previous honorees of the award, which is named for a former club president who advocated for press freedom, include Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted and killed while reporting in Pakistan in 2002. Mr. Pearl was named an honoree posthumously.
Write to Erin Ailworth at firstname.lastname@example.org and Alexandra Bruell at email@example.com