WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement by Emily Wilkins, president of the National Press Club and Gil Klein, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute on Vladimir Putin’s comments about the case of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich during his Feb. 6 interview with Tucker Carlson.
“Putin asserts that ‘(Evan) was working for the special services or some other agencies.’ At another point in the interview Putin says “I don’t know who he (Evan) worked for,” contradicting his earlier assertion. Let’s clear this up: Evan works for the Wall Street Journal and only the Journal. He is a journalist and his work in Russia was done as a journalist. Russia has zero proof to the contrary.
“Putin’s second troubling assertion is that ‘getting classified information in secret is called espionage.’ No. When a journalist receives classified information it is an act of journalism. Evan was approved to be reporting in Russia by the Russian government. His actions were approved under Russian law. If Russia felt he was not a journalist he should not have been admitted to their country. If they wished to withdraw their invitation to have Evan there as a reporter, they could have done so and asked him to leave the country. He should never have been arrested. He broke no law. He should be released immediately.”
It is clear from the tenor of his answers, that Putin is obsessed with trading Evan for a Russian operative. It is clear that Evan is being held as a bargaining chip to obtain a high value Russian prisoner. His arrest has nothing to do with his reporting, but rather with his value in a trade.
Soon Evan will be in a trial. The weak argument against him will be that he worked for US intelligence, which, Russia will state is proven because he received classified documents. Evan worked for the Journal — a fact established by an overwhelming record of evidence. Any classified information he received was as a reporter and was for the purpose of producing journalism for his employer and the readers of the Wall Street Journal around the world.
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. With 3,000 members representing nearly every major journalism organization, the Club is a leading voice for press freedom in the U.S. and worldwide.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute helps promote an engaged, global citizenry through a free press and through programs and trainings for journalists. The NPCJI is the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club.
Contact: Bill McCarren for the National Press Club, 202-662-7534;
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SOURCE National Press Club