Asking questions can result in trouble


A reporter’s job is to ask questions.

But what happens when you’re in a different country and you ask too many questions? Or questions about issues nobody wants to talk about or admit? What happens when asking questions leads to incarceration and interrogation by government officials?

Thats what happened to journalist Leah McGrath Goodman (along with MANY other investigative reporters).

Goodman was locked up and interrogated for more than 12 hours by British authorities before being thrown out of the country after disclosing the subject of her work in 2011.

Her work focused on the island of Jersey, a cosseted tax shelter in the Channel Islands controlled by the British Crown, whose government repeatedly ignored the atrocities of nearly 200 children since 2008 who were abused by the hands of government officials.

Upon arriving at Heathrow  Airport near London, Goodman walked through passport control and was asked to answer a few questions. She was then escorted to a windowless room in the basement of the airport. At no point was she told why she was being taken into custody.

Officials treated her like a common criminal. She said they gave her no information as to what was happening and locked her in a room for hours. Officials rummaged through her belongings and she was not allowed to speak to a lawyer. She described the interrogation process as being “demoralizing and hostile.”

Once the officials were done rummaging her things, she was banned from the country for two years and given no precise reason as to why.

Her crime was researching a topic that the British authorities preferred she didn’t.

You don’t hear about it too often, but many journalists are being wrongfully held in other countries and interrogated. It seems, today, that many issues needing light are being covered up and silenced.

There are certain stories that once they get out can destroy an entire nation. I idolize the journalists that actually go out and try to investigate such stories. I believe more people need to go out and uncover such dark truths, however, the problem lies with how much a journalist (and his/her employer) is willing to sacrifice in order to tell a story? Are they willing to sacrifice their rights? Their credibility? And even themselves?

I’ve often asked myself why certain things don’t get covered. Why do we hear so little about global genocide happening all over the world? Why is Miley Cyrus news? Instead of covering celebrities and intruding on their lives, why don’t we report on all the evil and wrongdoings going on elsewhere in the world and why don’t we spend our resources trying to fix them?  Instead of worrying about chemical weapons in Syria, why can’t our government worry about feeding the hungry or sheltering them? Or at least just reporting about it!

For the longest time, I just figured nobody cared. Now, however, I realize authorities are just silencing the people trying to uncover the truth, which in itself is a great atrocity to journalism.

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