Two American journalists are facing twelve years in prison after being convicted of so-called “grave crimes” in North Korea. Reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who both work for former Vice Presidente Al Gore’s TV channel, were convicted by North Korea’s high court on charges stemming from an alleged border crossing in March. The pair was charged as they were reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women along the China border.
Under North Korean penal law, the sentence is not appealable and the only hope now lies in a diplomatic negotiation for an amnesty of sorts.
Ling is the sister of American journalist and former co-host of The View, Lisa Ling, and Euna lee has a four-year-old daughter. This is where my concern lies and as a journalist I have to wonder why any parent would risk their freedom for a story when they have a small child at home. I know the dangers, up close and personal, and I sometimes wondered why I reported from some of the locations I did. Reporters are adrenalin junkies by nature; it’s part of the job description. Yet, now, there is a small child in the U.S. who may not see her Mommy again until she’s a teenager. It puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it?