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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

Did you know Jeremy Corbyn won a peace prize?

I am not a big one for slagging off the press and ranting about media bias. There are a few reasons for this; I have, on occasion been part of the problem, and I am aware that a number of factors will play on whether a story sees the light of day or not. Among these are both relative news value and the ongoing commercialisation of the media - but that is another point for another time.

I was always taught that news, in its most basic form, must be both new and relevant to people. It should be both interesting to the public and in the public interest. Those two are not, for the record, the same thing.

So this morning I noticed something on Facebook claiming the mainstream media has not covered Jeremy Corbyn winning a "major peace prize".

To add the context of facts, at the end of last month Corbyn was announced as the winner of the International Peace Bureau's (IPB) MacBride Prize. The commendation, named after former Irish statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner Sean MacBride, is given to "a person or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights."

In recent years, winners have included IPB secretary-general Colin Archer, Tunisian blogger and activist Lina Ben Mhenni and US whistleblower Private Chelsea Manning.

Corbyn was given his award on December 8. So far there is very little mention in the mainstream media. Even if you Google "Jeremy Corbyn International Peace Bureau", you still don't get hits from the big news outlets in the UK.

Now there could be a number of reasons for this. A quick dive into the background of the IPB and Sean McBride finds him listed as a "former Chief of Staff of the IRA". That is a phrase which will turn people off fast. But MacBride was a member of the IRA in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1940s he founded a new party in Ireland, in the 1960s he was a founding member of Amnesty International and in the 1970s he won the Nobel Peace Prize, for which he was cited as someone who "mobilised the conscience of the world in the fight against injustice".

The IPB itself is not without recognised merit, in 1910 it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for acting as a link between peace organisations worldwide.

Whichever way you look at it, this seems like an award which should have made some headlines in some shape or form.

Do not get me wrong, Brexit, terrorism and a huge raft of other issues make getting a spot on the news quite difficult these days. Indeed peace itself struggles to make much of an impact in a world dominated by war and the threat of violence. If I am completely honest I had no idea the Nobel Peace Prize is set to be awarded this weekend until I started looking up Corbyn's award. It's going to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, if you were wondering.

But Corbyn's citation said: "Jeremy Corbyn is awarded – for his sustained and powerful political work for disarmament and peace. As an active member, vice chair and now vice president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK he has for many years worked to further the political message of nuclear disarmament. As the past chair of the Stop the War Campaign in the UK he has worked for peace and alternatives to war. He has ceaselessly stood by the principles, which he has held for so long, to ensure true security and well-being for all – for his constituents, for the citizens of the UK and for the people of the world."

For what it's worth, this is something which must have merited a few lines at some point. I know there will be arguments that the award itself doesn't merit mainstream, international news coverage and prizes like this are often given out quietly. But with the UK's second-highest profile politician collecting it, I would say this deserved a few lines. So here are mine and congratulations Mr Corbyn.


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