Help to #FreeJersey –
Sign E-Petition to Overturn UK Ban on American Journalist
Leah McGrath Goodman
In common with a number of other Jersey bloggers, I’m publishing the posting below to draw attention to the unlawful repression of independent journalism, and to ask readers to sign the important e-petition which can be found by clicking on the following link:
You can also join in the discussion, and express your views about the Jersey government, by going to the comments section at the bottom of this article.
The American journalist, Leah McGrath Goodman was excluded from re-entering the United Kingdom by Immigration officials, following her being “flagged” by the Jersey authorities, after it became known to them that she is researching and writing a book on child abuse atrocities in the island and the associated failures of Jersey’s government, prosecution system and judiciary.
Please read the posting below, and help us to spread the word via the web. For those who use twitter, the hashtag is #FreeJersey.
Today is not a day to focus on right-wing versus left-wing politics, but the difference between right and wrong.
When a democratic government abuses its substantial legal, legislative and financial powers to crack down on journalists’ freedom of speech, force policemen and elected officials from their jobs and systemically dismantle its own checks and balances so as to deny each of its targets due process, clearly it is a government that has lost its way.
Jersey, the jewel in the crown of the Channel Islands, may be one of the world’s leading offshore financial centres, but it has begun to use its clout against its own people – and it is keeping the rest of its population in the dark about it. This is now a place where court and legislative records – those that are public anyway – can now be redacted. This is an island where secret trials are now allegedly taking place and elected officials are forced to debate key issues in secret. Web content is banned and journalists booted out. This is not the way a democratic government is supposed to be run.
On an island where children in need of care have been let down by the government for decades – and continue to be let down – we cannot afford to ignore or repeat our mistakes. More broadly, challenging the government’s current decisions, particularly when not made in the best interest of the public, should not require bottomless financial resources and friends in high places. We are supposed to be a democracy, right?
Today, Jersey politician Deputy Trevor Pitman launched an e-petition on Change.org in support of the return of U.S. investigative journalist and author, Leah McGrath Goodman, to the island to continue her research into decades of child abuse at Jersey’s state-run “care” homes and allegations of cover-ups in the wake of the government’s removal of the chief of police and shut-down of the entire investigation.
One year ago today, Ms. Goodman was banned from the UK and Jersey for two years after revealing to the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service during a voluntary meeting that she was writing a book on atrocities against children at Haut de la Garenne. According to the UK Border Force, she was flagged by Jersey Immigration authorities for removal upon her next border crossing – and that is exactly what happened. After the intervention of UK Member of Parliament John Hemming, the ban was reduced to one year and it expires today, 11 September 2012. That said, the UK and Jersey have so far declined to restore Ms. Goodman’s visa or allow her cross the border to continue her research. In order to do so safely, she will need to have her Tier -1 visa status fully restored – hence, the reason for Deputy Pitman’s e-petition today.
Leah McGrath Goodman should be permitted to complete her work in order that there is an accurate record based on the available facts and evidence. Jersey needs to confront the failings of its past so it can redress them and, most of all, ensure the safety of our children’s future.
We ask readers who care about the island’s children, who care about the island’s reputation, who believe in a free press and who want the truth to be told to sign Deputy Pitman’s e-petition. We also ask fellow bloggers to copy and paste this blog onto their own Web sites so that we may show the world that Jersey wants the best for its future and its children. It is time to leave our island’s culture of secrecy behind and demand the kind of free and open society our island deserves. Those who would do otherwise are not representative of the majority of islanders.
Please spread the word and sign this petition (ten seconds). The Internet is the one thing Jersey authorities have not been able to lock down…..yet! The petition can be signed here:
For those who tweet this campaign, please use the #FreeJersey hashtag. While Jersey may try to keep journalists out, it cannot keep us for letting the truth in.
Posted on behalf of Jersey bloggers and civil society.