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Advocating for Press Freedom

Alongside providing accurate, uncensored news and open debate in countries where a free press is threatened, RFE/RL upholds the rights of persecuted journalists and advocates for press freedom.  

Advocacy is essential to our work, and our priorities reflect our mission to promote human rights and democratic values. For more than 70 years, RFE/RL has defended its journalists against attempts to silence them. We continue to use advanced technological tools to circumvent censorship to ensure that our audiences can access trusted, independent reporting. 

Across RFE/RL’s broadcast region, we are witnessing the rapid proliferation of new legal frameworks to censor free expression and criminalize independent journalism, including so-called foreign agent laws and disinformation bills. We are partnering with human rights defenders to push back against this dangerous trend and protect press freedom. 

Support Independent Journalism

Join us in advocating for press freedom and supporting RFE/RL journalists who have been unjustly imprisoned.

Working to Free Imprisoned Journalists

RFE/RL advocates on behalf of its journalists who have been imprisoned because of their work. They must be released immediately to their families. Journalism is not a crime. 

Vladyslav Yesypenko with his young daughter, who kisses his cheek.


Vladyslav Yesypenko, a journalist for RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, was detained in Russia-occupied Crimea on March 10, 2021.

A headshot of Ihar Lois


Ihar Losik, a journalist for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, was detained in Minsk, Belarus, on June 25, 2020.

An image of Alsu Kurmasheva smiling at the camera


Alsu Kurmasheva, a journalist with RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service, was detained in Kazan, Russia, on October 18, 2023.

Andrey Kuznechyk Headshot


Andrey Kuznechyk, a journalist for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, was detained in Minsk, Belarus, on November 25, 2021.

Advocacy priorities

Latest Updates

RFE/RL journalist Alsu Kurmasheva holds children’s drawings sent by her supporters as she attends a court hearing in Kazan, Russia, on May 31, 2024. “Considering that this is probably the only grass and trees I will see this summer, this is priceless," she said. (REUTERS/Alexey Nasyrov)

Journalists in Trouble: Russian Court Extends Alsu Kurmasheva’s Detention for Sixth Time

Russian court extends Alsu Kurmasheva’s detention; Georgia’s “foreign agent” bill becomes law; ECHR rules in favor of RFE/RL; and more.

Russian-American journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Alsu Kurmasheva, who is in custody after she was accused of violating Russia's law on foreign agents, holds drawings by her supporters as she attends a court hearing in Kazan, Russia May 31, 2024. Image taken by REUTERS/Alexey Nasyrov.

Russia Extends American RFE/RL Journalist’s Detention for Sixth Time

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is outraged at today’s ruling in Russia to extend RFE/RL journalist Alsu Kurmasheva’s pretrial detention for the sixth time.

Kateryna Yesypenko and Aleh Hruzdzilovich at RFE/RL’s World Press Freedom Day reception in Washington D.C. on April 25, 2024.

Journalists in Trouble: President Biden Calls for Alsu Kurmasheva’s Release

President Biden calls for Alsu Kurmasheva’s release; RFE/RL hosts World Press Freedom Day reception with families of imprisoned journalists; and more.

Subscribe to Journalists in Trouble for Updates

RFE/RL journalists and staff face intimidation, physical harm, and imprisonment because of their work. It is RFE/RL’s top priority to advocate for the release of our imprisoned journalists and ensure our staff can do their jobs safely.  

Subscribe now to stay informed about incidents targeting RFE/RL journalists, developments affecting press freedom in our coverage region, and how you can help. 

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