There is a big difference between journalists reporting and stupid tourists.
I am disguised by many of the comments against May Ling and Euna Lee, they
were reporting against the way North Korean refugees are treated in China.
Traveling between the two borders they found themselves caught in North Korea, they are lucky to be alive.
People seem to have no understanding of true journalism, reporting on the plight of people who suffer everywhere, is not glamorous is it always dangerous.
Daniel Pearl lost his life doing just that, how quick we forget!
I agree wholeheartedly, backpack, with your sentiments regarding journalists--freelance and otherwise. As news organizations have cut staff, it's the freelancer that brings us the news we need from the hot spots of the world so that we can be intelligent world citizens, not to mention voters.
On the other hand, I can't get over some of the folks who intentionally play tourist in dangerous places, just to say they've done it. You see their posts on certain forums, bragging about their trips to Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Burma or the like. And if they end up in harm's way and cause an international incident, the State Department will end up having to deal with the situation. That kind of thing seems childish and self-centered to me.
Hear, hear! There's a big difference between adventurous and foolish.
I am always amazed when I hear stories like the one about the hikers crossing into Iran. Visiting new and interesting places is definately something I would like to do more of but, as a traveller, don't you have to take some responsibility for knowing what you are getting into? I'm no just talking about political climates, but also local customs, etiquette, danger zones, etc.
Unfortunately, I think there are thrill seekers out there that think because we are Americans we are also invincible. Or worse, they think that everyone in the world owes them a favor.
Not long ago I had friends that went to the Dominican Republic and were irritated that they could find few employees at the resort that spoke English. Seriously. Not an example of putting oneself in danger, but it is an example of the sheltered mindset that many Americans tend to have.
If Omaba had called me for advice, I would have said "Leave those two very stupid American women, May Ling and Euna Lee, there" -- and don't use any of the USA's resources to free them. Americans don't travel which is the reason most have such a sheltered and immature mindset.
May Ling is an American journalist, working for Current TV as a correspondent and vice president of its Vanguard Journalism Unit.
Without journalists risking their lives we would not know about Darfur, the plight of the people of Tibet and of North Korea living under oppressive regimes.
These two women were documenting the lives of illegal North Korean women immigrants who have to pass as Chinese and work as sex slave in border towns.
In order to get information, the informants have to blend, so only women of Chinese of Korean descent would have been able to find out facts and get around without attracting attention.
I can bet you a Tom Bihn item that CNN and the networks news big names
are not going into these places where oppression takes place behind close doors.
First, news anchor faces are known so they cannot do under cover investigations; second, they only care about sensational sound bites not the endless suffering brought on by poverty and tyranny.
The endless suffering of women all over the world doesn't make for headlines, it can only be uncovered by investigating journalism which we need more than ever.
A journalist needs the protection of his/her country of origins, this is the only way journalists are spared the fate of imprisonment without trial or worse.
Because North Korea has no formal diplomatic relations with the U.S, Barak Obama could not do anything for the two journalists.
Bill Clinton decided to step in and help secure their releases.
I am delighted that those two journalists, who happen to be women, are free and enjoying their families.
I said it on my first post, many journalists, including Daniel Pearl, paid with their lives when they were doing their jobs in dangerous situations.