After Saberi, North Korea Books Female US Journalists for Trespass, “Hostile Acts”

The media suffered a severe blow on Friday with North Korea iterating that it would try two female American journalists arrested last month for border trespass and other unspecified “hostile acts”.

The two reporters, identified as Chinese-American Laura Ling and Korean-American Euna Lee, are employees of the California based Current TV.

Ling and Lee were arrested in the early hours of March 17 from the vicinity of the Tumen River, which marks Pyongyang’s border with China.

“A competent authority of the DPRK (North Korea) has concluded the investigation into the United States journalists. The authority has formally decided to refer them to a trial on the basis of the confirmed crimes committed by them,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said, no further details were provided.

The two reporters, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, were working on a report about North Korean refugees fleeing to China.

Sending alarm bells ringing in newsrooms across the globe, Pyongyang’s decision to try the Current TV correspondents comes days after Iran sentenced US born correspondent of National Public Radio (NPR), Roxanna Saberi, to eight years in prison on espionage charges.

Noting a rise in the incidence of nations throwing the book at correspondents, analysts say the trial is an attempt to pressure the US to make concessions in its negotiations with North Korea.

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