Interactive TV station Current TV founder Al Gore has thanked the Obama Administration for its ‘continuous and determined efforts’to secure the release of two journalists five months after they were arrested in North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pardoned two American journalists and ordered their release yesterday during the visit of former US president Bill Clinton.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former US vice-president Gore’s California-based Current TV, were arrested in March while on a reporting trip to the Chinese-North Korean border.
They were sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labour for entering the country illegally and engaging in “hostile acts”.
The pair were working on a story about human trafficking of North Korean women into China and it appears that they strayed into North Korean territory.
In a statement Current TV founders Gore (former vice-president to Clinton) and Jo Hyatt said: ‘We want to thank the Obama administration for its continuous and determined efforts to achieve this outcome, and President Clinton for his willingness to undertake this mission.
‘All of us at Current are overjoyed at Laura and Euna’s safe return. Our hearts go out to them – and to their families – for persevering through this horrible experience.
‘We will have more to say in the days and weeks ahead. But for now, all our thoughts are with Laura and Euna and their families, who have shown remarkable courage and initiative for the 140 days of this ordeal.”
Ling, 32, is vice-rpesident of the Current TV’s Vanguard Journalism Unit and has reported from countries including Burma, Vietnam, and China.
Lee is the less experienced journalist of the pair and would have been working as a producer and video editor. It is understood that his was her first foreign trip as a journalist.
Current TV, which was founded in 2005, describes itself as the world’s “leading peer-to-peer news and information network” and the only “24/7 cable and satellite television network and internet site produced and programmed in collaboration with its audience”.
In the UK Current TV is broadcast on Sky 183 and on Virgin Media 155.