Convention on Modern Liberty - video and debate

Regions: Great Britain

Issues: Freedom of opinion & expression

Tags: #modernliberty, Bob Geldof, civil liberties, Convention On Modern Liberty, human rights, Rachel North

Update - Saturday 28th February 2009:

The Convention's now finished, but you can read transcripts of the first London plenary session in London here (#1, #2, #3) and the second session here.

Now we want you to tell us how human rights get debated and discussed where you are - leave a comment, send us an email, or upload a video.

Tomorrow thousands of people in the UK are going gather together in London and other cities across the UK, and online, to try to answer these three questions:

--> Are our freedoms and rights threatened by an over-powerful state and if so how do we defend ourselves from this?
--> Are dangers to our security from terrorism and other threats, from climate change to pandemics being used to attack our rights, and how can we best defend ourselves?

--> How can we arouse sustained public interest?

It's all part of The Convention on Modern Liberty (here's the actual programme) - a collaboration between the Joseph Rowntree Trust, opendemocracy, Liberty and The Guardian newspaper.  Here's a brief video trailer:


The organisers write:

Sixty years ago Britain was a proud co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Now it is increasingly centralized, abandoning its historic principles some of which date back to the Magna Carta. [...] We believe that such threats can be overcome but only if the public is woken to the dangers.

You can participate - whether you are in the UK or not - in these ways (please note that the London event is sold out):

--> Follow, contribute to and comment on the Convention from afar...  through live video, Twitter (and hashtag #modernliberty), live blogs, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook - and of course you can contribute your own video responses right here on the Hub.

--> You can also contribute your questions to the Convention through this question tool (hosted by the Berkman Center at Harvard - how's that for a new spirit of transatlantic cooperation?)

-->Watch video statements contributed by UK thinkers, journalists, politicians, lawyers, artists and activists

--> Read The Guardian's Modern Liberty blog, which also carries video statements from, among others, Jung Chang.

OK - that's quite a lot to take in - but I hope it gives you a sense of how this really seems to be getting people excited and engaged in all kinds of arenas.  If you're hungry for more, read on...

Here's openDemocracy's Tony Curzon-Price's invitation to you to join the Convention's action-oriented social network:


Finally, if you're in London, you should definitely take an hour or two to go round Taking Liberties, the British Library's excellent (and free) exhibition showing the development and status of civil liberties and human rights in the UK.  If you're not near enough to visit in person, there's an online version, an audio introduction (mp3) to the issues covered in the exhibition, and the curator's keeping a really fascinating blog.

What are you still reading this for?  Go and TAKE PART!


Update from the Convention team...

So this is from the Convention team's Facebook update:

It's taken a while, but the videos of all the London sessions are now up. To watch them simply go to the Programme page and click through to the session you want to see:

Many thanks to our fantastic team of volunteers who did the filming and editing, especially Ellen Vellacott and Robin Lough. There are also sessions and speeches to watch from Bristol, Cambridge and Cardiff.

Magna Carta 2.0
The Convention inspired many people and organisations to move forward in new collaborations, projects and actions to defend our fundamental rights and freedoms. One of these is Magna Carta 2.0 a new cross party, educational campaign promoting widespread open-minded, public debate and understanding of the threats to fundamental human rights and freedoms and how they can be countered. We will be launching it with a public gathering at Runnymede on June 14th, the anniversary of Magna Carta's signing. Follow the link to find out more:

Sameer Padania | |

convention on modern liberty blog

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