Before journalist Laura Ling was dispatched to  a North Korean prison to serve out a 12 year sentence described as "hard labour", she did some intrepid reporting. Ling is in the employ of independent media company Current TV, led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. She was arrested in March this year, along with her editor Euna Lee, while reporting on Korean refugees on the Chinese border. According to the impressive portfolio of works on her current TV channel her most recent was a documentary on Mexico's drug war. She also explored Haiti's Cite Soleil, a slum populated by violent gangs and completed a piece on marijuana plantations hidden in Californian forest. In a trip to the Amazon, Ling witnessed the deforestation of vast tracts of jungle while hanging herself and her camera out of the window of a small aircraft and then went on to spend time with a local tribe. On Monday this week, Ling and Lee were found guilty of illegal entry and committing "hostile acts against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea", a charge which New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson says is fortunate since it is less serious than one of espionage. Despite attempts by the US administration to secure their release, the North Koreans have not responded. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that the matter is being viewed independently of the diplomatic standoff over North Korea's nuclear arms program.