Commentary: Journalists' release good news for all

Welcome home, Laura Ling. Welcome home, Euna Lee.

Ling and Lee, two journalists working with the fledgling, San Francisco-based Current TV video network, are free today after more than four months as captives in the police state of North Korea. Dictator Kim Jong Il released them to former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday after Clinton asked for them to be pardoned for entering North Korea illegally. They were arrested March 17 while reporting on the trafficking of women and children along the border between China and North Korea.

Sacramento has a special place in its heart for Ling, who grew up in Carmichael. But the pair's release ought to bring joy across the country and the world. It is always good news when someone who is being held unjustly against her will wins freedom.

Clinton's successful mission appeared to be the culmination of a careful, deliberate diplomatic offensive. The women's families, especially Laura's sister Lisa, also a journalist, brought international attention to their plight. The families did so not by making the story a political cause but by stressing the humanitarian angle.

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