Reporters Without Borders today called for the immediate release of two American reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were arrested by North Korean security forces on the border with China exactly one month ago on 17 March.
The worldwide press freedom organisation condemned Pyongyang for treating the two women as criminals while they were simply doing their job as journalists.
A total of 1,100 journalists and bloggers have already signed a petition in their support started by Reporters Without Borders and the International Women’s Media Foundation. You can sign the petition.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, one of Korean and the other of Chinese origin, are accused of entering the country “illegally” and carrying out activities hostile to the state. They were working for online Current TV when they travelled to the border area with China to investigate the trafficking of North Korean women.
If found guilty they face up to 10 years of forced labour. Article 63 of the penal code relating to “crimes” against North Korea provides for jail terms of five to ten years for foreigners gathering news in the country.
Reporters Without Borders will be holding a special North Korean evening in Paris on 27 April designed to demonstrate the difficulties journalists have in investigating the plight of North Korean refugees on the Chinese border. There will be a screening of a previously unseen documentary filmed in the border Tumen river region where the two American journalists were arrested.