Magna Carta (1215) gave us our basic freedoms such as Habeas Corpus and Trial By Jury. It asserted the Rule of Law, binding the Executive to the 'law of the land'. Justice became impartial. Trade and movement was freed. These ideas made the Anglosphere rich – and leaders in science, thought and culture too.
Today, executive power is eroding these principles. Laws ignore basic freedoms. Officials wield arbitrary power. People are held without trial. Presumed innocence, jury trial, trade and free movement have all been curbed.
Question and opportunity
June 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, providing a unique opportunity to explain why its principles are so crucially important to the public, policymakers and students.
Actions and deliverables
With WAG TV, one of the world's leading documentary producers, and other experts, we will make two high-quality TV programs, explaining the importance of Magna Carta’s freedoms today. WAG TV's dedicated TV distributors will promote the films for airing through public broadcasters worldwide. US broadcast targets include PBS and the History Channel.
There will be additional digital content too. The films will be edited into smaller units for use as classroom teaching aids, on a dedicated website built for the project, on YouTube, and through other media. They will also be available on DVD for distribution through Amazon, the website and other channels. Non-digital content will comprise an accompanying book aimed at a wide audience, and teaching guides.
The suite of outputs will explain, to a wide variety of audiences, how the Magna Carta principles arose, why our basic freedoms are so vital, and their impact on the world. It will explore how these principles have been lost, and how we can reassert them. The project will give the world a better understanding of the principles of freedom and will help people challenge the centralising executive power that threatens them.