Update: U.S. officials designated Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained” on April 10.
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The NewsGuild-CWA, the largest union of journalists and media workers in North America, called on President Biden and his administration to take all necessary steps to secure the immediate release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested by Russian authorities last week.
Evan Gershkovich has a distinguished record of reporting on the Kremlin’s war efforts, profiling Russian dissidents and covering the stories of wartime life in border towns in Russia and Ukraine. His recent work has exposed the Russian government’s attempts to squash dissent and discourage antiwar protests, as well as highlighting the inner workings of President Vladimir Putin’s advisory circle.
NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss expressed appreciation for President Biden’s call for Russia to release Mr. Gershkovich and for U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the matter. However, Schleuss urged the U.S. administration to work swiftly with Roger D. Carstens, special envoy for hostage affairs, to designate Mr. Gershkovich as wrongfully detained under the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act.
President Schleuss implored President Biden to use the full force of his office and the diplomatic resources at his disposal to secure Mr. Gershkovich’s release, engage with international partners to amplify this message, and to provide support to Mr. Gershkovich’s family during this difficult time.
“Journalism is not a crime,” Schleuss said. “No journalist should be arrested for doing their job.”
Schleuss also urged restraint in any retaliation against Russian journalists in the United States, emphasizing that a reduction in the number of journalists working in the U.S. would not be beneficial.
Schleuss emphasized the importance of press freedom and the protection of journalists worldwide as cornerstones of democratic societies and called on the U.S. administration to stand up for the rights and safety of journalists.
The NewsGuild-CWA represents journalists and media workers at more than 240 news organizations in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, including those at The Wall Street Journal. While Mr. Gershkovich is based overseas and not a member of the union, his colleagues are standing with him, denouncing his arrest and demanding his release.
About The NewsGuild-CWA
The NewsGuild’s represents about 26,000 workers including journalists, interpreters, translators, workers at organizations dedicated to fighting for social justice and the staff of nonprofit organizations. The NewsGuild is a sector of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents workers in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, health care, public service and education, manufacturing and other fields.
Media contact: (202) 434-1175 firstname.lastname@example.org