Journalist as pawn—Roxana Saberi’s story?

A beautiful young freelance American  journalist with dual citizenship is held by Iran. After being jailed for buying a bottle of wine (illegal in Iran), she is convicted of espionage, and imprisoned for weeks before finally being freed this week.

Roxana Saberi is one  lucky gal.

Lucky she was worth more alive than dead to the Iranian government. Lucky that she had freelanced for some high powered news agencies. Lucky she was a former beauty queen—doesn’t hurt when competing for news space in all media.

It’s easy to cheer this journalistic feel-good story.

Unfortunately, it’s easier to imagine the unthinkable. Nearly 750 journalists have been killed or have died mysteriously over the last two decades all over the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Saberi  must not have been doing all that much digging.  She was worth more to Iran to be freed as a P.R. gesture.

But is Iran more open? Are journalists treated differently there?  CPJ says at least six Iranian journalists were in prison during its last survey.

I wish it were different.  But it  seems Iran stills knows how to put journalists in their place.

In the end, what have we? No real advance for anyone. Journalists are stifled, and the  diplomats of the world gain nothing, except that Iran may want a favor in the future.

It’s all political showbiz, which makes it logical that the real bonanza may be for Hollywood.

Is this not a new vehicle for Angelina Jolie?

In the meantime, when Saberi does give her first interviews, I wonder if we’ll hear anything about  the two Asian American journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling working for Current TV.

The two were reporting on  North Korean immigration into China  and  have been held in a North Korean prison since March 17  when they were arrested–for being journalists.

Unlike Saberi, Lee and Ling have not been so lucky.