Saturday, June 20, 2009

CARINA 360°: Laura Ling and Euna Lee, a 12 year sentence

As you probably may have heard, journalists' Laura Ling and Euna Lee, both reporters for the California-based channel Current TV, were arrested. It's been over three months, and now they are guilty and sentenced to 12 years in a labor prison for illegally crossing the North Korean border, though both women and the families have apologized.

The North Korean goverment is saying they were spying and on a mission to destroy the reputation of the communist country. Or a "smear campaign."

On June 17th, Anderson Cooper had an exclusive interview with both husbands of the women and the sister of Laura Ling, Lisa Ling. In the interview, Ling said that they are mostly worried about their mental state.

(You can also see another interview with Anderson Cooper and Lisa Ling here.)

Laura Ling's husband, Iain Clayton, said, "These three months have been the worst three months of my life...The idea I would have to endure this for another 12 years is just unbearable."
Euna Lee's husband Michael Saldate has been dealing with comforting their 4-year-old daughter. He says he tell's her that mommy is at work. Since then, the only contact the families have had is writing letters.

Support for both the families is nothing short. This story has struck many with vigils taking place in Santa Monica and San Franciso to pray for the women. People holding signs saying "Liberate Laura and Euna Now." People doing anything they can to help. Lisa Ling attended the vigil in Santa Monica. Where sadly she broke down talking about her sister to those who attended.

A few weeks ago on Larry King Live, a man (whose first name I can't recall but his last name is Graham) says he thinks this is a grim situation, but that the woman knew the consequences of crossing the North Korean border, and that the real issue is the nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, he believes the women will be home by Christmas. Joy Behar, co-host of the View, responded with saying she wouldn't want them home by Christmas, she would have wanted them home yesterday.

As little as captive journalists are showed in the media, this isn't rare. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an advocacy group, reported that since December 1 2008, 28 journalists' in China, 21 in Cuba, 14 in Burma, 13 in Eritrea, 2 in Russia, 2 in Vietnam, have been jailed. And 17 killed in 2009. Which leaves me wondering why these weren't publicized. It's not as if these people are not important.

But back to Ling & Lee. Despite the claims, they should be freed. The North Korean government should have some heart and let the women return to their families. Laura Ling has a medical condition, and Euna has a daughter waiting for her. And in the eye's of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, this may have a happy ending. Clinton has high hopes in their release. Saying the trial date is a "Welcome timeframe." Also, "We believe the charges are baseless and should not have been brought and that these two young women should be released, immediately." As I'm sure what everyone wants.

*Petition's do make a significant diffrence. I signed one set up to call the release of both journalists'. It doesn't take up alot of time. I hope you sign it! Click here to sign.


  1. "Str8 Outta Compton"June 21, 2009 at 2:02 AM

    "The North Korean government says they were spying and on a mission to destroy the reputation of the sommunist country."

    Wow, I really hope the North Korean government was trying to make a joke, because that is absolutely laughable. They fear that the reputation of North Korea is under assault? What reputation, exactly? The reputation they have built over years of hiding from progress and reform? The reputation they have built from ruling over their society with an iron fist of ignorance to the true outside world? The reputation of having a leader so impossibly inept and insane that no other country can take him seriously?

    Oh don't worry North Korean government, that reputation is perfectly fine.

  2. that sucks pretty bad.

    has there been any americans trying to negotiate any type of freedom for the two????

  3. nice topic i wa watching the report on this the other day.

  4. this is sad, but what about Neda in Iran? Her sotry is just as sad.

  5. yeah well...neda prolly wont be held in larbor prison for 12 years.

  6. yeah, because neda was MURDERED

  7. So many people are so upset and appalled about what these two girls went through. But you are still doing what got you both in trouble in the first place! You need to learn to mind your own business. These places and countries you go to have sovereignty, which means they run things not you! I have no problem with you reporting on the travesty of others and the human rights violations other countries impose on others and I think its important. But you need to stay within our borders and respect the borders or other countries. The attitude and the arrogance of the media is only matched by the U.S. government! And in light of the fact that the Bush Administrations war crimes and ordering of torture and the breaking of U.S. laws hasn't made a single news story has me wondering how honest the media and you two girls really are? We did the very things (U.S. Government) that we have condemned in other countries for, for a zillion years. Yet I hear nothing from you so-called honest journalists about what the Bush administration actually did. How come I don' hear anything about this? How come you honest media people don't report on these things? Is the U.S. government exempt? You better take a hard look at yourselves before you condemn or criticize others. Because we are no different than any other people or government when you get right down to it! If you mess with the bull you might get stuck with the horns, and if you do don't come crying to me because from my view you haven't been fair to the American people nor any other people!