In this article, we’ll look at the reasons behind the praise and admiration surrounding jailed journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia on spying allegations. President Joe Biden, colleagues, and the media have all recognized Gershkovich’s courage and dedication to journalism.
- President Joe Biden praised Gershkovich’s “absolute courage” at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
- Fellow reporter Matthew Luxmoore and world coverage chief Gordon Fairclough emphasize that Gershkovich was simply doing his job as a journalist.
- Gershkovich’s colleagues express gratitude for the widespread support received from journalists, news outlets, and the public.
Biden Acknowledges Gershkovich’s Bravery
On Saturday, during the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, President Joe Biden took a moment to honor the “absolute courage” exhibited by Evan Gershkovich.
The president addressed Gershkovich’s parents, Ella and Mikhail, who had fled the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and their daughter, Danielle.
Biden emphasized that Evan’s work in Russia aimed to uncover the darkness his family had escaped years ago.
Last month, while working for The Wall Street Journal, Gershkovich, a journalist aged 31, was apprehended by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in Yekaterinburg.
The spying charges have led to his pretrial detention, which is set to last until at least May 29.
Colleagues Recall Gershkovich’s Passion for Reporting in Russia
Matthew Luxmoore, a fellow reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and Gordon Fairclough, the world coverage chief, both agreed that Gershkovich was simply doing his job as a journalist when he was arrested.
In an interview with NBC News on Friday, Luxmoore reminisced about starting at the Journal the same day as Gershkovich, January 24, 2022.
He recalled how Gershkovich was incredibly excited to cover Russia, diligently reading books to better familiarize himself with the country and its history.
Luxmoore, currently based in Ukraine, acknowledged that Gershkovich was well aware of the risks associated with reporting in Russia, but felt a strong sense of duty to cover the story.
Fairclough echoed Luxmoore’s sentiments, highlighting the scarcity of journalists with the talent, language skills, and necessary documentation to report from Russia.
He described Gershkovich’s unique gifts as curiosity and empathy, which enabled him to step into the shoes of the people he wrote about.
Journalism Community Rallies Behind Gershkovich
Both Luxmoore and Fairclough expressed gratitude for the widespread support Gershkovich’s case has received from fellow journalists, news organizations, and the general public.
Gershkovich, too, has been humbled and deeply touched by the letters sent to him, according to a statement released by his Russian legal team on Friday.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Ryabkov hinted that Russia might consider a potential prisoner swap involving Gershkovich, following the delivery of a court verdict.
Fairclough expressed hope that Gershkovich, currently held without consular access or visits from friends and family, would be released soon.
He emphasized that journalism should not be a crime and that Gershkovich was merely doing his job as a reporter.
In addition to Gershkovich, the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner also recognized other detained individuals, such as Austin Tice, who disappeared at a checkpoint in Syria in 2012.
President Biden reiterated his commitment to working tirelessly to bring home Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad, stating, “Journalism is not a crime.”
Evan Gershkovich’s arrest and ongoing detention in Russia have cast a spotlight on the hazards journalists confront while reporting from volatile regions.
Gershkovich’s unwavering commitment to journalism, coupled with his courage, has earned him praise from the highest levels of government, admiration from fellow reporters, and support from the broader media community.
As the situation unfolds, there is hope for Gershkovich’s release and an ongoing dialogue surrounding the importance of press freedom around the globe.
His story serves as a powerful reminder of the risks journalists face in their pursuit of truth and the critical role they play in ensuring an informed public.
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