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Corbyn joins winners of ‘prestigious’ peace prize

Academic attacks mainstream media over its silence as Labour leader joins US whistleblower Chelsea Manning as recipient of international award

15 December, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Jeremy Corbyn with, from left, Lisa Clark, Reiner Braun, Sharan Burrow, Philip Jennings and Jean Rossiaud at the ceremony

JEREMY Corbyn has joined US whistleblower Chelsea Manning, the Mayor of Hiroshima and Barbara Lee, the only member of the US Congress to vote against the invasion of Afghanistan, in winning an international peace award.

The Islington North MP and Labour Party leader collected the Sean MacBride Peace Prize in Geneva.

The award was established in 1992 to honour the Irish republican and former Nobel Peace Prize winner who founded Amnesty International. It is made to a “person, or organisation, or movement in recognition of its outstanding work for peace, disarmament, human rights”.

Oxford University professor Barbara Harriss-White described the award as “prestigious” in a letter to the Guardian newspaper and questioned why the event had not been reported in the “mainstream media”. She told the Tribune that there had been a “patently defensive reaction” after her letter was published, adding: “Shame on the press!

“Past prize-winners include Michael Higgins, president of Ireland, Mordechai Vanunu, who courageously blew the whistle on Israel’s nuclear weapons programme, the committee of Russian women opposing the war in Chechnya, Praful Bidwai and Achin Vanaik, foremost Indian journalists and critics of Indian and Pakistani nuclearisation, together with anti-nuclear activists in Canada, Germany, Japan, Northern Ireland and the USA.”

Channel 4 responded to Professor Harriss-White’s letter with a “Fact Check” opinion piece arguing that there had not been any “nefarious media conspiracy”, adding: “The prize has not historically been viewed as a particularly newsworthy event in the British media.”

The New Statesman magazine also responded, saying that stories about prizes were, generally, “boring”.

This year’s award was split between three winners – Mr Corbyn, the linguist and activist Noam Chomsky and a Japanese protest group, the All Okinawa Council Against Henoko New Base.

The prize is non-monetary, with winners receiving a medal cast by the California-based company From War to Peace.

In an interview after picking up the prize, Mr Corbyn said: “A world of peace is one that does not turn a blind eye to the obscenities of grotesque levels of wealth by the minority.”


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