Current Stays Silent as Its Reporters Stand Trial in North Korea

Current TV journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were arrested in North Korea in March, are finally going on trial in the psycho dictatorship today. The one media outlet not covering their case: Current TV.

Reuters says the two are charged with the preposterously vague crime of "illegally entering the state with 'hostile intent." Intent, presumably, to commit journalism.

Experts say the pair could face a sentence of 10 years or more of hard labour in the reclusive state. They add a guilty verdict is almost certain in a North Korean justice system that protects the unquestioned rule of leader Kim Jong-il.

While the story gets widespread international attention, Current TV has been absolutely silent on it—going so far as to pull user-submitted stories on the case from its own site. A search of Current.com this morning turns up only one single user-submitted Yahoo news article on the case, which had been posted less than 30 minutes ago. This, even while the story was simultaneously on the front page of NYTimes.com, and while Ling's celebrity sister is desperately trying to get publicity for her case.

Why the hell is Current so quiet about the fate of its own reporters? We emailed and asked them earlier this week, but they haven't responded to us. But a tipster tells us that Current's top management made the conscious decision to "silence" the issue, and that Current employees have been instructed not to discuss it.

If you know more about what Current is afraid of, email us. For now, Euna Lee and Laura Ling's freedom is a political bargaining chip.
[NYT. Pic: AP]