State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood told reporters Friday the U.S. is working quietly to gain the release of Current TV reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling who were captured by the North Koreans on March 17, according to AFP and Voice of America.
“We continue to call on the North Koreans to release the two Americans so they can be returned to their families,” Wood said.
Washington has no diplomatic ties with Pyongyang and the Swedish embassy is representing its interests.
But the Swedish ambassador has not had contact with the two journalists from the San Francisco TV company since March 30, Wood said.
“They are being denied access,” a senior State Department official said, according to AFP. The Swedes have “not been able to get the access that we would all like to have,” he added.
But the two journalists were being provided with toiletries and medications. “There’s no indication that they’re not being treated well,” that official said.
- Above is an August 2006 photo from the Chronicle that accompanied a story about how critics were starting to warm up to Current TV. In the center is Laura Lee, who is now being held by the North Koreans. On the right is Joel Hyatt, an Atherton resident who is Al Gore’s partner in Current. Hyatt became a multimillionaire by starting a chain of legal service offices in Ohio. On the left is programming chief David Neuman.
Candlelight vigil: Meanwhile, Pacifica Radio reports that a candlelight vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Current TV’s headquarters, 118 King St. in San Francisco.
The vigil is being organized by Brendan McShane Creamer, a Philadelphia resident who knows Laura Ling’s sister Lisa, the actress and former panelist on “The View.” Creamer has created a Facebook group about the plight of the journalists, which now has more than 2,500 members calling for their release. A vigil outside Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, Calif., where both Lee sisters graduated, is planned at the same time Tuesday.
Current TV has not aired any information about the capture of its two employees, and it is scrubbing its Web site of comments from readers about the international story, according to the Pacifica report.