Dozens of UN nations denounce Russian 'crackdown' on media

AFP , Monday 17 Apr 2023

The United States and dozens of other UN member countries concerned about Russia's arrest of American journalist Evan Gershkovich called on Monday for Moscow to release prisoners held "on political grounds."

Media crackdown
File photo: Journalist Marina Ovsyannikova (right) burst into a live broadcast in March last year to condemn Russia s invasion of Ukraine. AFP


"We protest Russian efforts to limit and intimidate the media," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the United Nations, reading a statement supported by 45 other UN member states, including Britain, France, Germany and Japan.

The signatories said they were "deeply concerned" by Russia's detention of The Wall Street Journal's Gershkovich, who has been held for more than two weeks.

"We will continue to advocate for press freedom and the safety of journalists worldwide," the statement said.

"We urge Russian Federation authorities to release those they hold on political grounds, and to end the draconian crackdown on freedom of expression, including against members of the media."

Gershkovich has been charged with espionage and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Moscow accuses him of trying to obtain classified defense information for the US government.

The reporter, The Wall Street Journal and US officials vehemently deny the allegations.

US ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy said she found Gershkovich "in good health" when meeting him at Moscow's Lefortovo Prison on Monday for the first time since his arrest.

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