Iconic images of La Rocco Tower, Gorey Castle and St Aubin’s Bay accompanied by friendly personal messages will be crossing the globe in the post in the next few weeks.
But the messages will not be ordinary holiday updates, nor will the recipients be family members or friends. The postcards are destined for prisons and detention centres which hold journalists imprisoned for speaking out against repressive regimes.
They have been identified by the Jersey branch of Amnesty International which is inviting members of the public, as well as Amnesty supporters in the island, to join a campaign in support of imprisoned journalists in countries including the United Arab Emirates and China. Participants will be asked to compose their own personal messages on the reverse of postcards donated by hotels in the island.
Explaining the campaign, Amnesty’s local Treasurer Patrick McCarthy told Express that the aim was both to give support to the individuals concerned but also to draw attention to their plight by arousing the curiosity of their captors.
Pictured: The postcards aim was to give support to the imprisoned journalists but also to draw attention to their plight.
“A lot of those people will not even have heard of Jersey but if someone receives five postcards, it will be a source of moral support to them. If they receive 50, their jailors may say to themselves, ‘Where is this place ‘Jersey’?’ If they get 500, the Minister responsible may stop and think that there must be something special about this person. Is it time that he should be released without charge?”
According to Amnesty International, an average of one journalist a day is imprisoned for speaking out against repressive regimes throughout the world. The challenge, according to Mr McCarthy, is to establish the location in which they are being held, which may change without warning.
Amnesty in Jersey has been researching the fate of some two dozen journalists, some of whom who will feature in the postcard campaign which is the first step in trying to secure their release.
The Jersey branch will then be following up the cards by sending formal letters to the president, the head of the judiciary and the minister of the interior in the countries concerned to ask them to release the prisoners. “We hope that by then they will already have heard of them through the postcards,” said Mr McCarthy.
If the campaign is successful it could be adopted in other places. Amnesty in Jersey plan to use their international network to promote the idea with other branches throughout the world.
The journalists ultimately selected for the campaign include the human rights blogger and poet Ahmed Mansoor, jailed for ten years in the United Arab Emirates for “publishing false information, rumour and lies about the UAE that would damage the country’s social harmony and unity.”
Winner of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, he has had his case championed by both the United Nations and the European Parliament.
Pictured: The cards and information about the imprisoned journalists will be available at the Town Hall tonight.
Others include the so-called ‘iLabour three’, who are the editors of an independent online media website created in 2013 in China. Its three editors – Yang Zhengjun, Ke Chengbing and Wei Zhili – were arrested earlier this year and charged with ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’. They are currently detained in Shenzhen.
Those wishing to take part in the campaign are invited to the Town Hall this evening (Wednesday 15 May) at 18:00 where the cards and information about the imprisoned journalists will be available.
The organisers hope to send the cards off gradually over the course of the month so that they arrive over an extended period to increase their impact.
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