In a recent speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, US President Joe Biden called for the immediate release of American reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia on charges of espionage. The President used this opportunity to advocate for press freedom around the world, as the dinner commemorates the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and a free press.
Prior to his speech, Biden met with Gershkovich’s family, and US officials have strongly denied the accusations against him, launching a media campaign to secure his release. Gershkovich, a former reporter for Agence France-Presse (AFP), is the first foreign journalist to be detained in Russia on spying charges since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“We are working every day to secure his release. We’re looking at opportunities and tools to bring him home. We keep the faith,” Biden said during his speech.
The situation between the US and Russia remains tense, as bilateral ties have been frozen for over a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This week, Moscow announced that it had denied a consular visit to Gershkovich in retaliation for Washington not issuing visas to several Russian journalists.
Gershkovich’s case has drawn international attention, with many expressing concern over the crackdown on press freedom in Russia. Biden’s call for his release is part of a larger effort to promote press freedom and defend the rights of journalists around the world.
Also in attendance at the dinner was basketball player Brittney Griner, who was released by Russia in a prisoner exchange last year and has vowed to fight for the release of other detainees.
The US government will continue to work towards securing the release of Evan Gershkovich and defending the rights of journalists everywhere, as freedom of the press remains a cornerstone of democracy and human rights.