Sir John Whittingdale
My right hon. Friend will be aware that Vladimir Kara-Murza is a former journalist and one of 22 journalists currently imprisoned in Russia, including Evan Gershkovich of The Wall Street Journal. Can he update the House on the efforts being made to obtain the release of Mr Gershkovich, and will he look at introducing targeted sanctions on all those involved in the persecution of journalists in Russia?
The Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Mr Andrew Mitchell
As my right hon. Friend will know, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the British Government have been heavily involved in taking action through a variety of different means, including conferences to try to protect the rights of a free press and journalists around the world. On the case that he raised, I will write to him imminently to give him an up-to-date answer, and I will make the letter available to the House. On his overall point, we seek every way we can to stand up for a free press and open journalism, and to bear down on states that do not respect the important role that a free press play.