llposterIt’s a difficult and sometimes dangerous world out there for journalists. While those here in the states face distrust from the public and disdain from pundits, those abroad often face the terror of tyrannical regimes that don’t believe in the freedom of the press and that would do anything in their power to suppress an idea contrary to their agendas.

Just this past year we’ve seen Sri Lankan editor Lasantha Wickramatunga gunned down, U.S. journalist Roxana Saberi detained and tried in Iran, and, more recently, Current TV freelance reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee tried and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor.

It’s infuriating that the North Korean regime chose to pursue legal action against these Americans on vague grounds, but what’s even more maddening is how little we’ve heard from Current TV or Al Gore, who founded the independent news network.

Ever since the beginning of the ordeal, Al Gore and Current TV have been very quiet about the goings on in the Hermit Kingdom. The network also reportedly took down stories and videos about the two journalists on its own Web site.

Further, according to New York Times blogger Brian Stelter, the “two women’s profiles were scrubbed of any reference to the detainments.”

Stelter further reports that:

“It is not unusual for news organizations to adopt a silent stance when their journalists are detained or otherwise endangered overseas. News outlets often choose not to comment as they work aggressively behind the scenes for the release of their employees. But the public nature of Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee’s detainments have put additional pressure on Current to comment about the case.”

If Current TV commented about the case yesterday, I would have said the statement was long overdue. As it stands, even with the news media outlets covering the case more extensively than they’ve done since the beginning of Ms. Lee and Ms. Ling’s detentions, Current TV has not said a word.

It may not be unusual for news organizations to be silent on their journalists’ detentions, but doing so is downright irresponsible. News organizations have a responsibility not just to their public to cover a story without bias, they also have a responsibility to their reporters who often put themselves in harm’s way to get their stories.

By remaining silent, Current TV has failed on both fronts.

Image: @LiberateLaura

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