Media Freedom Coalition statement on Evan Gershkovich’s Trial

The undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition note with deep concern the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in Russia.

After more than a year of arbitrary detention, his trial – on baseless charges of espionage – is a deliberate attack on media freedom, and one that can only add to his family’s pain. Evan Gershkovich is an accredited reporter with a respected news outlet; his arrest, detention, and trial represent a disturbing hostility to press freedom in Russia. Journalism is not a crime. When journalists are targeted because of their work, the world loses out on its most valuable sources of information; free inquiry and truth-seeking suffer; and journalists themselves are forced to run unconscionable risks.

Mr. Gershkovich’s case is, unfortunately, illustrative of the Kremlin’s choice to launch a systematic assault on media freedom rather than allow honest reporting on its crimes in Ukraine and its repression at home. Dozens of journalists are imprisoned in Russia because of their work, including both Russian nationals and their foreign counterparts. Many were targeted for their coverage of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds more journalists have been forced into exile. And those who remain active in Russia face significant personal risk as well as the censorship of a government that fears truthful reporting above all.

The undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition condemn these deliberate efforts to undermine press freedom and freedom of expression in Russia. We urge the immediate release of all journalists who have been unjustly detained. And we call on all countries to uphold their obligations and commitments to human rights and the rule of law.

Signed:

Australia
Austria
Belgium
Canada
Czechia
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Luxembourg
New Zealand
Norway
Portugal
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
the Netherlands
the United Kingdom
the United States
Uruguay

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