Nov 13, 2015, 10:14 AM
The jailing of two US journalists by the government of
Since their arrest, the entire world had pleaded with the Kim Jong-Il administration to show clemency and set the two journalists free. But going by the statement issued by the state-run KCNA news agency, the North Korean government was hell-bent on punishing both journalists for doing their job. It states: "The trial confirmed the grave crime they [the reporters] committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing."
The issue now is not whether the charges were "baseless". Such a posture would not lead to the release of the two journalists who in our opinion were on a legitimate journalistic assignment. Due to the sort of diplomatic relations existing between
now is dialogue and compromise that would lead to the release of the journalists.
This case has pointed up yet again the hazards of journalism. When a journalist is on a legitimate assignment, some people in some quarters could misconstrue that as "hostile acts" - whatever that means. It happens all the time, as journalists are almost always marked out as targets during armed conflicts. And in some cases, they are barred from entry certain countries because they are assumed to be spies. Nothing can be further from the truth. What security agencies and agents term as intelligence is what journalists regard as information that is meant for public consumption. The journalist gathers information for public consumption only; and not to aid specifically and purposely the strategic advantage of any government. Governments all over the world have people who are paid to gather intelligence for them.
We therefore join the rest of the world in appealing to the government of Kim Jong-Il to have a rethink on the plight of the journalists who were simply doing their job and release them. If he does that, then he stands a chance of making history as a respecter of press freedom and freedom of expression. And naturally, he would be in a better position to negotiate with
"A day, an hour of virtuous liberty is worth a whole eternity in bondage."