Calbuzz is not given to campaigning or advocating. But we got a letter the other day we want to pass along from our friend Betty Medsger, a writer and journalism education consultant based in New York, who is a former Washington Post reporter and founder of the Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University. Here’s what Betty wrote:
Until now, journalists, politicians and human rights activists – people who could have been expected to strongly plead for justice for Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two American journalists who were imprisoned March 17 by the North Korean government and who have just been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor – have been rather silent.
Given the unpredictable qualities of North Korea leaders, it was assumed by many that silence was the preferred strategy in dealing with this humanitarian crisis. Even their employer – Current TV of San Francisco, which is partly owned by Al Gore – has been silent about the terrible plight of these journalists.
Silence didn’t work. It is clear now that voices are needed on behalf of Euna and Laura.
Please get in touch with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and tell her the 3 a.m. phone call is ringing in her State Department office and that she needs to answer it with her strong will and determination.
Get in touch with your senator and congressional representative. Urge them to convince the Obama administration to engage in direct negotiations with North Korea for the release and return of these two young women. If you agree, please urge them to disengage this humanitarian case from other serious disputes our government has with North Korea. Urge them to demand that the Secretary of State or an emissary go to North Korea and conduct direct negotiations on behalf of Laura and Euna.
Get in touch with Al Gore. If you know anyone related to the Swedish government, encourage them – as a nation that already engages directly with North Korea – to be a more forceful advocate on behalf of Laura and Euna.
Much time has passed. Silence seldom is helpful, even – perhaps especially – when dealing with strange dictators. Please help break the silence and let North Korea know, through your representatives and anyone else you may know in a position of influence, that the injustice perpetrated against these journalists should end.
Links with more information about this case are here and here.