AAJA welcomes the news that American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling are back in the United States after more than four long long months of detention in North Korea. Its leadership and membership wish them a happy and long-anticipated reunion with their families, friends and colleagues.
“We deeply appreciate the efforts both sides made to bring these two journalists home,” said AAJA National President Sharon Chan. “We are grateful to everyone who supported Lee and Ling, and kept their story alive.”
Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee are journalists for Current TV, a Web-based television channel founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. They were arrested March 17 for allegedly crossing the border while conducting interviews with North Korean refugees in China. In June, in a North Korean court closed to observers, the two were sentenced to 12 years labor for illegal entry and unspecified “hostile acts.”
Maya Blackmun, AAJA interim executive director, noted that AAJA members have tracked the developments closely.
As working journalists, a number of members have kept the public informed with updated news stories since the detention of Lee and Ling in March. In addition, members not actively covering the story from AAJA chapters in San Francisco, Sacramento, Arizona, Chicago and Washington, D.C., joined with community efforts to advocate for the release of Lee and Ling.
“This is great news for their loved ones and colleagues, ” Blackmun said. “and what it means to journalists everywhere.”