The arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in Russia has raised alarms in the news business.
Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service (the FSB) on Wednesday on apparently trumped-up suspicion of espionage, the first such arrest of a U.S. journalist in Russia since the Cold War.
The incident illustrates the peril increasingly being faced by journalists worldwide. Gershkovich has been accused of gathering information on a Russian military enterprise, The Washington Post reports.
“The arrest of Mr. Gershkovich is extremely troubling,” states Danielle Coffey, executive director of the News/Media Alliance.
“Journalists perform a critical service in providing important news and information about local, national and international events to communities across the globe.”
Coffey adds, “No journalist should have to do their job in fear of their safety or liberty. We stand with The Wall Street Journal in calling for Mr. Gershkovich’s immediate release.”
The United States has had only intermittent success in securing the early release of citizens detained in Russia.
It remains to be seen if the influence of the Journal, News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch himself will have any impact on Gershkovich’s release.
The Journal forcefully responded. "The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich,” said Caitlyn Reuss, the WSJ’s senior communications manager, according to Fox. “We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”