Fox News host Dana Perino hosted a discussion of journalism on the front lines at the Clinton Global Initiative this week, including the imprisonment of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by Russia.
Along with the Committee to Protect Journalist’s Jodie Ginsberg, Dow Jones CEO and Wall Street Journal publisher Almar Latour and Washington Post columnist Jason Rezaian, Perino discussed Gershkovich’s continued detainment by Russia under what the U.S. says are completely bogus charges of spying.
“He is quite beloved by his colleagues,” Perino said, after Latour recalled receiving the news earlier this year that Gershkovich had been taken. Arrested in March, Gershkovich has had his pre-trial detention extended multiple times and faces a high probability of conviction in Moscow’s slanted court system.
Latour said Gershkovich was doing the right thing as a reporter trying to uncover the truth in Russia. There has been a global outcry for his release, but Russia has kept him in its grip. Gershkovich was arrested in Yekaterinburg on March 29 and charged with espionage on the heels of a story about Russia’s crumbling economy amid its war against Ukraine. The WSJ has firmly dismissed any notion that he was doing anything but his job.
Asked by Perino about the increasingly difficult atmosphere for journalists around the world, Ginsberg said it’s getting “worse everywhere,” and said Russia’s move against Gershkovich was unfortunately both effective in silencing him but also chilling other reporters from angering the regime.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said. “We have record numbers of journalists in prison… That’s because authoritarian and other regimes have recognized it’s a pretty effective way to shut journalists up. You just bring legal proceedings against them that can go and on and on and tie them up in expensive, complicated legislation for years.”
Rezaian became internationally known after Iran detained him for more than 500 days beginning in 2014 on espionage charges, when he was the Post’s Tehran bureau chief. He was finally freed in 2016, and Perino asked him about his experience of being a journalist in captivity abroad.
He explained the “sham trial” he went through and the limited amount of outside information he got while in Iranian custody. He said he didn’t remember how to turn on an iPhone when he was finally released.
Perino, who co-hosts “America’s Newsroom” on FOX News Channel, and FOX Business anchor Stuart Varney will co-moderate the second Republican presidential primary debate alongside Univision’s Ilia Calderón on Sept. 27 on FOX Business Network.
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