WASHINGTON, April 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement by Eileen O’Reilly, President of the National Press Club, and Gil Klein, President of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, on the announcement by the U.S. Department of State to classify as a wrongful detention, the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by the Russian government.
“In our first statement on this matter, we called for the U.S. government to declare the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich a wrongful detention. Today, 13 days later, we are happy they have done so. While this case has moved at a record pace, it still took almost two weeks for our government to make this determination. We must do more to streamline the process – especially as it relates to journalists. We believe it is always a wrongful detention when a journalist is held for doing their job.
While it is good news that the case is moving to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, we note that this office has undertaken a huge burden of consular affairs cases in recent years. SPEHA no longer appears as focused on wrongful detention as it once was, and has not shown a willingness to prioritize cases of journalists. One need look no further than the case of Austin Tice, a Polk Award-winning journalist and the Club’s 2015 John Aubuchon honoree, to see that cases of detained journalists are not a priority of SPEHA. Austin has been held more than 10.5 years, and we have not engaged with Syria to negotiate for his release.
We call on SPEHA to move swiftly to refer Evan’s case to the National Security Council for a quicker resolution.”
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. With more than 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization, the Club is a leading voice for press freedom in the U.S. and worldwide.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with the skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. The NPCJI is the nonprofit affiliate of the National Press Club.
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SOURCE National Press Club