Imprisoned journalist Evan Gershkovich to be honored by National Press Foundation

Journalist Evan Gershkovich. Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been wrongfully detained by Russia for nearly 300 days, has been selected for the National Press Foundation’s 2023 Chairman’s Citation and will be recognized at the organization’s awards ceremony in February.

Gershkovich was arrested while on a reporting trip on March 29, 2023, and charged with espionage, which Gershkovich, the United States and The Wall Street Journal all deny.

The Chairman’s Citation recognizes individuals whose accomplishments fall outside the traditional categories of excellence but who nevertheless have a profound impact on journalism.

“The National Press Foundation supports the cause of a free press. Evan Gershkovich‘s detention is a wrongful act against the fundamentals of journalism, and his prompt release is imperative for upholding journalistic freedom,” said National Press Foundation Chairman Amos Snead.

A Moscow city court last month upheld a November ruling extending Gershkovich’s pre-trial detention to Jan. 30 as it rejected his appeal to be released.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped an agreement could be reached with the United States about a possible prisoner swap for Gershkovich as well as former U.S. marine and security executive Paul Whelan, who is also jailed on espionage charges.

Gershkovich was detained by Russian authorities on March 29 in the city of Yekaterinburg, about 1,243 miles east of Moscow, and accused of spying, making him the first Western reporter to be held on such charges in Russia since the Soviet era.

Russia’s Federal Security Service claimed Gershkovich was trying to obtain secret information about a Russian arms factory. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

Gershkovich’s legal team and The Wall Street Journal have said the charges as baseless, and Russia has not publicly provided evidence. The United States has declared Gershkovich to be “wrongfully detained” and has accused Russia of using him for “hostage diplomacy.” According to U.S. officials, the release of Gershkovich is a top priority to the White House.