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Journalism Is Not a Crime

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who is currently detained in Russia, has been officially designated as having been wrongfully detained by the US State Department, indicating that Washington believes the espionage charges against him are baseless and that he is being held as a hostage.

The 31-year-old journalist was arrested on March 29 in Yekaterinburg, and the Russian security service, FSB, acknowledged the next day that it had taken him into custody on the grounds of possible espionage. He received an official charge of espionage, which Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal both rejected. He is well regarded as a gifted and reputable journalist.

The designation allows for the official employment of a number of government tools meant to free hostages, most notably the hostage fusion recovery cell and the special presidential envoy for hostage matters, which are multi-agency organisations created to share intelligence and secure prisoner releases.

The foundation of any democratic society is journalism. Journalists have a duty to report on current affairs and keep the powerful accountable. Yet, journalism is viewed as a felony in many nations. The public's right to information and journalistic freedom are being flagrantly violated. Governments need to act now to safeguard journalists from retaliation and acknowledge that journalism is not a crime.

By carrying out their duties, journalists are frequently harassed, imprisoned, or even assassinated. They experience harassment, threats, and censorship frequently. Journalists are occasionally charged with disseminating false information or posing a threat to national security. This must change. Publishing news is not illegal. It is an essential right that should be protected and respected.

Governments must take action to safeguard journalists particularly during the times of geopolitical conflict and war. This entails passing laws that safeguard press freedom, prosecuting anyone who harm journalists, and giving the tools they require to perform their duties risk-free. In order for journalists to cover stories without worrying about retaliation, governments must combat corruption and advance transparency.

The general public must also understand the importance of journalism. The adversary is not the media. They are fighting to expose the truth and make the powerful answerable. We can ensure that the public is informed and that democracy is enhanced by assisting journalists.

Consuming and distributing the work of journalists is one way to support them. We can contribute to amplifying the voices of journalists and demonstrating our support for their work by reading and sharing stories. Supporting rules and regulations that safeguard press freedom is also crucial.

Journalism is not a crime. It is a fundamental right that needs to be safeguarded and honoured. Governments must take action to safeguard journalists and advance openness. As well, the general public must value journalism and support journalists' efforts. Through cooperating, we can make sure that democracy is reinforced and that the public is informed.


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