Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required
Prospector Poll

Are you going to be surfing the web or the waves this summer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

A fine line between telling stories and facing persecution


Last month Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested on accusation of espionage in Russia. Arrested by Russian Security Services, Gershkovich is being questioned over the possibility of being a spy for the United States government, an accusation both WSJ and the U.S. government deny. Since the start of the war on Ukraine, Russia has had a higher rate of arresting many critics of the Kremlin and Gershkovich is not the first journalist nor the first American to be arrested on foreign soil. But with his recent arrest, it may bring up thoughts of fellow U.S. National , Britney Griner, who was arrested February 2022 after being stopped at the airport and later faced drug charges.

Although freed December 2022, it seems unlikely Gershkovich will be released anytime soon as this arrest seems to be a message to journalists and the west, according to Politico.

However, unlike Griner, Gershkovich is a journalist who has written pieces either criticizing the Kremlin or about the war on Ukraine which is something punishable by death or life imprisonment if Russia chooses to.

Many journalists constantly face criticism either by their peers or audiences across their country and the world, but when it comes to unfair governments, it is enough to put the pencil down and no longer go looking for stories. As a young journalist, arrests like this carry as a reminder that not every country is as open to criticism as the U.S., meaning journalists can sometimes walk with a target on their back for whatever they publish.

Even more so journalists are criticized for politically based writings or publications, meaning journalists like Gershkovich have been walking a fine line of deciding to go for a story that can expose so much but putting their lives more at risk. Gershkovich is not the first journalist to have been arrested or captured for what they wrote but when will there ever be a last?

Research done by Statista, shows a lot of journalists either incarcerated or killed are in countries where their media is highly controlled by the government. It is a risk many journalists take knowing the sacrifices and consequences they will face.  Just leaving the comfort of the U.S. puts journalists at risk of either being killed or arrested.

Even with no grounds for either, journalists are not safe even when crossing the border to our sister city  Ciudad Juarez.

When looking at the impact journalists have had locally, you cannot help but think of the countless journalists killed during the height of the crime in Juarez. So many reporters and photographers just telling the stories of others death or the rate of cartel killings, killed for solely telling a story.

Most times it is not as random as killing a journalist because they have seen something they shouldn’t have but rather some journalists are hunted down for reporting on something a world leader possibly did not like.

In 2014, ABC correspondant Matt Gutman was detained by Venezuelan for his reporting on the dire conditions at the Central Hospital of Valencia, in the state of Caraboo. Although no charges or arrest, Gutman is now forbidden to return to Venezuela as he was accused of compromising the security of the nation and distrubing public order, according to FOX News.

“I can tell you how terrified Evan must be,” said Gutman in an Instagram post. “Evan now faces the prospect of indefinite detention in the hands of an authoritarian regime that loathes the free press. Because there is no due process causes the uncertainty causes a kind of fear that you feel with every fiber of your being. It’s physically painful.”

According to the Comittee to Protect Journalists(CPJ), the detainment of journalists hit a new high in 2020 due to their coverage of the global pandemic that affected millions.

“Accredited journalists like him must be protected,” said Gutman in the same post. “They must be allowed to do their jobs unmolested. In every country. Evan must be freed.”

Gershkovich’s arrest is one of many but a reminder that the lives of journalists are always put on the line to either to tell the truth or just to get the best story. However, when is far too far?

Gershkovich was accused of being a spy and although it has not been proven it puts something like a lid on what journalists can cover. If no one can cover the “truth” of the war on Ukraine what will be shared to everyone?  The lid of censorship is something we see across the world but have only seen glimmers of in the U.S.It is why as a journalist I hope one day I will not have to worry about the stories I choose to tell. Knowing there could be a target on my back for trying to share the ‘truth’ is scary but I cannot help but admit that if I must I will go for truth all the time.

Itzel Giron is the editor-in-chief and may be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Itzel Giron
Itzel Giron, Editor-in-chief
Itzel Giron is a senior multimedia journalism and creative writing student at UTEP. She started her journalistic career at The Prospector in the fall of 2021 as a staff reporter and is now editor-in-chief. Thanks to The Prospector and her tenacity, Itzel has had the opportunity to be an intern with KVIA Channel 7 at El Paso. Itzel is also a freelance journalist, and her work has been published in The City Magazine, Borderzine and Walsworth Yearbooks. After graduation, Itzel hopes to continue her passion of journalism by working in broadcast television reporting on politics, entertainment and news.
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Prospector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
A fine line between telling stories and facing persecution