Monday, June 8, 2009

Journalists Treated Harshly?

by Ron Powell
June 8, 2009, 3:42AM

Euna Lee, left, and Laura Ling, reporters for The Current TV Network, were sentenced to 12 years hard labor for allegedly crossing into North Korea's territory while doing a story on human trafficking.

Current TV is an Emmy award-winning independent media company led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt.

A few questions:

Didn't they know where they were? If not, why not?
Were they invited guests or were they interlopers or tresspassers?
Have we heard much from the leaders/owners of the company?
What were two nice kids like them doing in a place like that anyway?
Have American journalists suddenly become targets?
Is there more to this than we are being told?
As a condition for permission to enter, aren't journalists required to state their reason(s) or purpose(s) for being in countries which restrict movements and activities within their borders?
Aren't there consequences for exceeding the bounds/limits of the conditions upon which such permission is granted?

I agree that the sentence was harsh and seems excessive by our standards, but there are some important lessons to be learned here.

Beginning with understanding and appreciating the fact that we, as American citizens, cannot assume that we have some kind of special status or license to ignore, avoid, or evade the consequences of not abiding by, or stictly adhering to, the laws of foreign countries because our law differs from theirs.

Suppose the sentence was "twelve lashes with a bamboo cane" and then deportation as in another case. We can't break the law in places like North Korea and then expect to be allowed to run home because we don't like the law, the punishment or the people enforcing it......

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do......"

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