Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Heroes' Welcome

Euna Lee and Laura Ling returned to the US today after being detained in North Korea for the past several months. The news coverage of this story is astounding. I listened to them speaking at a news conference this morning along with former Vice President Al Gore. It sounded like these two journalists were being treated as heroes for enduring their imprisionment.

Why is America so concerned about these two journalists? Sure, they were convicted of trumped-up charges of espionage, which was ridiculous. But, they did enter North Korean territory without a visa. Entering a country illegally is always a criminal offense. Some countries just handle the legal proceedings in a different manner. The logical reaction from the North Koreans should have been to confiscate their cameras and notes and have them fined and deported. But, that's not the way that country operates.

Now, Euna Lee and Laura Ling will probably get a book deal and go on the talk show circuit. All this for knowingly crossing an international border illegally. Granted, some of the blame for their actions fall on Al Gore's news channel--and he should take some personal responsibility, but he probably won't. I won't deny that they endured hardships in a North Korean prison, but they don't deserve any sympathy.

Journalists also have to follow international laws. Journalistic integrity does not give anyone the right to flout the law.

1 comment:

Dumb Laowai said...

Finally, a voice of reason on the subject!