Leah McGrath Goodman, American author and investigative journalist, was in the process of writing a book based on her inquiries into the Haut de la Garenne child abuse scandal when she was suddenly banned from re-entering the Channel Islands. Back in November, I posted an article summarising Goodman’s story and marking the one-year anniversary of her ban – The same post also included a link to member of Jersey parliament, Trevor Pitman’s petition on Change.org, which called on the UK government to restore Leah Goodman’s UK Tier-1 visa.
Since that time, I have received a number of updates courtesy of Trevor Pitman and change.org regarding the progress of Goodman’s efforts to return to Jersey in order to continue with her investigation. Earlier to today, I received the following message which I will reproduce in its entirety below:
Dear Wonderful Friends,
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting me my UK visa back. You really did it. Because of your signatures on this petition — just your taking one or two moments to sign it — I was this year awarded a brand-new Tier-1 visa. When I release my book on Jersey, I will dedicate it in part to you — and the power of many to do what just one person cannot.
Quick update: I returned to the U.K. for the first time this summer and was welcomed warmly in both London and Jersey by many old friends and contacts — and even some new ones who have decided to take up the cause and offer help. More on my UK experiences here: http://bit.ly/15Pavt4
While much remains to be done before I publish my book, just knowing I have your support has gotten me over some of the greatest hurdles of my life — and there are some big ones, as some of this work can be most tiring!
Now that I have my visa back, we have one more hurdle to climb: will you help me? We have asked the UK Border Agency to release the FULL VIDEO TAPE RECORDINGS of my 12-hour detainment at Heathrow Airport. I am entitled to this full record of my treatment behind closed doors under the UK’s Data Protection Act — yet the UK Border Agency keeps ignoring requests from both me, as well as members of UK Parliament!
This weekend, Member of Parliament John Hemming initiated a Change.org petition urging the release of my “missing” tapes: http://chn.ge/14KScFQ
If you have just 5 seconds, please sign. (Your signing also will allow me to stay in touch with you, as this petition is about to close.) The power of groups has shown itself to be the most effective way to push for necessary change that I know. By getting these tapes released, we establish the seriousness of what the UK Border Agency is actually doing behind closed doors to journalists who report on truths some people wish to hide.
In light of the latest detainment fiasco this August at Heathrow involving David Miranda and his partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, it seems it is time to send the UK Border Agency a strong message that harassing journalists in their work within a democracy is NOT okay.
If you agree, please make your voice heard here: http://chn.ge/14KScFQ
Regarding Miranda and Greenwald, I published this on The Huffington Post this weekend about what it’s really like to be a “normal” person one day and a quote-unquote government target the next: http://huff.to/19TEmSk
Information is the new currency of our world. But being a journalist should not be a crime. You have shown me that as long as I am brave and do this job as best I can, I can always count on amazing supporters like you.
If you’d like to stay in touch or send me a note, please feel free to do so anytime on Twitter @truth_eater, or on my blog at www.leahmcgrathgoodman.com. Or just sign this and I will be able to send you a copy of my book when it comes out: http://chn.ge/14KScFQ
All the best to you and thank you again. I could not do what I do without you.
This message is courtesy of Trevor Pitman, Deputy of the States of Jersey who started the petition “John Vine, UK independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration: Restore the visa of banned journalist Leah McGrath Goodman #FreeJersey”.