Today is World Press Freedom Day. Every year, on May 3, the fundamental principles of press freedom are recognised and celebrated. The state of press freedom across the globe is evaluated and people remember and pay tribute to journalists who’ve lost their lives doing the job they loved, like Marie Colvin who died covering the conflict in Syria earlier this year.
Over recent years we’ve made significant strides when it comes to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in this country. Only a few decades ago, such prejudice and intolerance was the norm.
Yesterday's papers revealed a bid to resurrect plans for a major expansion of Government powers to monitor the phone calls, email exchanges and website visits of every person in the UK. This is a return to a policy opposed by both Coalition parties in opposition and abandoned by the last Government.
There may have been a few tears as Julia O'Dwyer - mother of Sheffield student Richard - addressed a Liberty crowd to tell her son's nightmare extradition story. However there was also a gritty resolve to make our parliamentarians understand the growing weight of public opinion against British laws that allow instant extradition without evidence, discretion or compassion.
Last month Janis Sharp marched on Downing Street to mark the 10th year of her son Gary McKinnon’s extradition ordeal. It’s hard to believe but it’s been a decade since Gary was first arrested for hacking and threatened with removal to the US. Both Coalition partners made grand promises in opposition but a dark cloud still hangs over the family.
The plight of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba has united not only his sport but much of the nation. Messages of support have come flooding in for the midfielder, who collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest during his team’s match with Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend. Reports suggest his condition is gradually improving and he regained consciousness yesterday, enough to talk and recognise family members.
Today a wave of bombings has rocked Iraq, killing dozens and injuring scores of others. The attacks, seemingly designed to disrupt the forthcoming Arab Summit in Baghdad, come exactly nine years to the day since the US and UK led the invasion of Iraq. Given the intractable bloodshed of Afghanistan, it’s almost easy to overlook the other major 21st Century conflict involving our Armed Forces. But such violence, especially today, is a sombre reminder of a war justified by the dodgiest of dossiers without approval from the international community.
Liberty wishes all members and supporters a happy Mothering Sunday this weekend. But if you’re enjoying time with loved ones, do spare a thought for three other mums for whom the day will be overshadowed. For Eileen Clark, Janis Sharp and Julia O’Dwyer, our rotten extradition system is taking its toll.
Messrs Cameron and Obama no doubt had much to discuss during the Prime Minister’s three-day trip across the Atlantic. Afghanistan, Syria, the global economy and even the finer points of an NBA basketball game might have featured in their conversation. So it was heartening to hear that Mr Cameron also managed to put extradition on the agenda Stateside.