Monday, May 11, 2009

Don’t forget Laura Ling and Euna Lee

As we celebrate the liberation of journalist Roxana Saberi from prison in Iran, don’t forget that two other innocent American newswomen are being held on similarly trumped-up charges in North Korea.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two correspondents for San Francisco-based Current TV, have been detained in North Korea since March 17, when they were arrested while filming a story at the border between China and North Korea.

They have been held essentially incommunicado since then in a “guest house” in Pyongyang on charges of “hostile acts” and illegally entering one of the most secretive and paranoid nations in the world. If they are not rescued, they could face years of imprisonment in a harsh labor camp.

Lee and Ling, who had traveled to China to interview North Korean defectors, were arrested at the frozen Tumen River. Because information about their case has been limited, the precise circumstances are not clear.

Current TV, which is owned by former vice president Al Gore, has adopted a strict no-comment policy on the case in the apparent belief that the delicate diplomacy necessary to win the women’s release is best conducted in private. The United States has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, relying on Swedish diplomats to attempt to broker the release of the reporters.

By contrast, a substantial degree of attention was focused on Saberi’s case by National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp., for whom she worked as a correspondent.


Blogger TIE said...

Couldn't agree more. I've been disturbed by some of the reader comments attached to news stories about their plight. People write that they had no business entering North Korea (not that we know if they did voluntarily, if that were even relevant), and that they put themselves at the mercy of North Korean "law." Would anyone have said that if a journalist had attempted to find the truth about Stalin's gulags or the World War II death camps in Germany? Who's standing up for them? They're brave women, doing some of the world's toughest journalism. Here's hoping we get them home soon.

1:32 PM  

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