Happy birthday Amnesty International - 47 today!

Today is quite a momentous day for Amnesty. As well as the launch of the Amnesty International Report 2008, it’s also our 47th birthday.

47 years ago to the day, the Observer printed the original article that led to the founding of Amnesty International later that year.  The following day the article appeared in the US, Germany, Geneva, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Italy and South Africa as well as host of other countries.   Such is the power – and importance – of the media!  You can find out more about Amnesty’s history here.

Although Amnesty’s been all over the news today, only BBC Radio Cambridgeshire picked up on it being our birthday, and our media director Mike Blakemore gave an interview at 9.30.  

Much more attention has been given to our Annual Report – in particular our call for world leaders to re-affirm their commitment to human rights 60 years after the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was signed.

You may have woken up to hearing our Secretary-General Irene Khan talking about the report on the Today programme at 7.20, or on Five Live Brekkie at 7.35 where we called on leaders to re-affirm their commitment to human rights this year by taking concrete action.

The media – and not Amnesty this year – highlighted the US as one of the countries where Amnesty is calling for an improvement to human rights.  While there’s scant mention of the US in Amnesty’s press materials, the Financial Times chose to focus on our call on the next US president to close Guantánamo Bay detention camp while oddly enough the Daily Telegraph refers to Amnesty’s report at the end of an article about Barack Obama and Raúl Castro – a story which had nothing to do with the Report.

The BBC News channel has given particular prominence to the report by featuring a news package by James Robbins which outlines Amnesty’s main concerns of 2007 –the world’s flashpoints of Burma, Zimbabwe, Darfur and Gaza.  BBC News Online’s piece echoes a lot of the TV piece.  Irene Khan was also on BBC News Channel at 10.50 and on Sky News at 9.30 this morning – you may have seen her on those channels.

And finally the Independent’s blogsite has an entry by Amnesty’s Media Director. Have a read of this when you can.

Well – that’s all from us today.  I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.  I’m hoping that someone will wheel out a huge chocolate-fudge cake with 47 Amnesty International candles at about 3pm.  Well, one can only hope!

Til the next time

Yule E

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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