Commentary: Letter writing campaign might free journalists Ling and Lee

At Thursday's rally for imprisoned journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, speakers at the state Capitol could have riled the crowd with denunciations of North Korea, but conspicuously and deliberately they did not.

Instead, they noted that the journalists had admitted violating North Korean law and asked for amnesty. They urged the crowd to write respectful letters in support of the journalists, who were detained by North Korean authorities while working along that country's border with China.

Some might wonder if rallies and letters really can do anything to move a regime such as the one in Pyongyang. Yet history has shown that these kinds of efforts can be successful. Groups such as Amnesty International have helped win release of thousands of prisoners worldwide by facilitating the writing of brief, positive letters that make a clear request.

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