Wednesday, June 17, 2009

McCormick Grantees Speak Out in Support of Laura Ling and Euna Lee

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two Current TV journalists that were detained in North Korea, were sentenced last week to 12 years of hard labor in a North Korea labor prison. As the United States weighs its diplomatic options and obligations, many of the McCormick Foundation’s journalism grantees are speaking out in support of the two young women.

The Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ) has reached out to its Leadership Council members, informing them of the involvement of Bob Dietz, the director of CPJ’s Asia program. Dietz has been working with the families of both journalists and assisted them in voicing their concerns publicly. Dietz has also appeared on such broadcast outlets as NPR, Fox News and Al Jazeera. Additionally, CPJ has reached out to press groups around the globe to sign a joint appeal.

The International Women’s Media Foundation has condemned North Korea’s sentencing of the women, fearing that their imprisonment is unrelated to their work as journalists and instead is being used as pawns in broader political circumstances. IWMF has organized a petition in support of the young women’s release and has encouraged members of journalism groups to call for the release of Ling and Lee.

The Asian American Journalists Association has also expressed deep disappointment in the harsh sentencing. AAJA is worried about the safety of the two young women and urge North Korea to reconsider the punishment. The AAJA Web site features news updates and a list of related links from other media outlets.

The Journalism Program encourages all readers and grantees to share opinions on the imprisonment of Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

--Compiled by Jenn Bollenbacher, Citizenship Program Intern

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