City Bar Calls for Release of Journalist Evan Gershkovich by Russian Federation on World Press Freedom Day
On this 30th Anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, the New York City Bar Association urges the Russian Federation immediately to release Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and end its systematic attacks on press freedom at home and abroad.
Journalists play a fundamental role around the world by ensuring that individuals have sufficient information on which to make personal, social and political choices. In service of this end, journalists like Mr. Gershkovich enjoy an internationally recognized right to gather and report the news free from state interference.
Constitutions around the world, domestic laws and regional human rights instruments have long recognized the importance of freedom of expression as a prerequisite to democratic self-governance. These freedoms are enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which protect the right to seek, receive and impart information through any media and regardless of frontiers. These are foundational principles of international human rights law.
The Russian Federation violated these rights and principles when it detained Mr. Gershkovich for doing his job, when it jailed Russian reporters and imposed a censorial regime at home that decimated an independent press, and when it assaulted and killed journalists in Ukraine. These attacks are felt first and most directly by Mr. Gershkovich and his fellow journalists. But they also do violence to every individual’s right to self-determination, self-government and self-expression.
These attacks must stop. Evan Gershkovich should be released, and the Russian Federation should end its war on journalism.
Read the City Bar’s March 2022 report urging investigation of attacks on Freedom of Expression, Opinion and Press in Russia and Ukraine.