By Our Staff Reporter
WASHINGTON, April 6 –The National Press Club announced on Thursday it is going to honor imprisoned Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich with its highest honor for press freedom, the John Aubuchon award.
The announced has been appreciated widely across the globe.
Eileen O’Reilly, president Washington based National Press Club, and Gil Klein, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, joinly announced the same which was shared with local and International media by media wing of the National Press Club.
“Journalist Evan Gershkovich has been dedicated and courageous while reporting from Russia during a period of dramatically increased danger for journalists. In an environment filled with risks, he has consistently delivered honest, bold and enlightening news coverage. Evan’s journalism is the cause of his unjust detention by Russian security forces. Journalism is not a crime and Evan should not be jailed for his profession — he should be honored for it. We call for Evan to be released immediately and without conditions,” a press note issued by the National Press Club stated.
Aubuchon honorees do not simply receive recognition and a prize. By selecting Evan Gershkovich, the Club and the Institute are committing to monitor and support his case and to work toward ensuring his freedom, including his freedom to publish. The Club and the Institute will continue to advocate not only for Evan, but also for all the foreign journalists working from Russia and who had expected that their non-Russian passports would provide them some protection.
Leaders and management of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones haled the development and said they were grateful to the issued the following statements
“We thank the National Press Club for honoring Evan’s commitment to shedding light on issues around the world so the public can make informed decisions. Evan is a distinguished member of the free press, and any other suggestions are false. We deeply appreciate the National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute for standing with Evan as we continue to demand his release,” Emma Tucker, Editor in Chief, The Wall Street Journal said.
“Evan is a respected journalist whose reporting provides a unique insight into life in an evolving Russia,” said Almar Latour, CEO of Dow Jones and Publisher of The Wall Street Journal. “His unjust arrest deprives readers around the world and in Russia of valuable insights. It’s an affront to journalism and should matter to anyone who values freedom. Evan represents the very best of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones and we continue to call for his safe and immediate release,” a press release issued by The National Press Club quoted them as saying.
The Russian authorities on Friday formally charged Evan Gershkovich with spying in Russia.
Mr Gershkovich, an experienced Russia reporter, was arrested last week in the city of Yekaterinburg while working for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Local russian media reports quoted Mr. Evan as saying he is not guilty of the allegations Russian authorities had levelled against him. Wall Street Journal, however, has demanded his immediate release.
Following his arrest, the Russian authorities said he had been caught “red-handed”.
Mr Gershkovich, 31, has been working asb correspondent of of Wall Street Journal for years and earned excellent reputation among foreign correspondents in Moscow through his ground reporting. Senior journalists including and BBC’s Russia Editor Steve Rosenberg described him as an excellent reporter and a highly principled journalist.
Evan’s detention has been condemned by the journalists associations and the human rights activisits across the globe. However, the Russian authorities have so for reffused to accept pressure from any quarter.
The White House condemned his detention “in the strongest terms”.
According to a report of BBC, Senate Republican and Democratic leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer strongly condemned his detention and demanded release of journalist.
“Journalism is not a crime,” they said. “We demand the baseless, fabricated charges against Mr Gershkovich be dropped and he be immediately released,” BBC reported on Friday.
US officials say they have sought access to Mr Gershkovich but have not been able to visit him. However, the WSJ said its lawyers had been given access to him.
The Russian foreign ministry said the issue of consular access was being resolved, but added that the “fuss in the US about this case, which was aimed at pressurising the Russian authorities… was hopeless and senseless”.