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This year´s Nobel Peace Prize: A tribute to journalists and the free media

By Khadra Yasien Ahmed
Monday - December 27, 2021

Democracy dies in darkness.

This years Nobel Peace prize was a tribute to the free press. Freedom of speech and the free media is under attack in most countries in the world. Somalia has time and time again been named the world’s most dangerous place for journalists. Since 2010, 59 journalists have been killed in Somalia. Somali-Canadian Hodan Nayaleh was one of many. Impunity levels are very high, and few perpetrators are brought to justice. Press freedom is under harsh conditions in even highly developed countries, whereas in other places, it is close to non-existent.

9 out of 10 journalist-murders are not cleared.  This year’s award was not meant to shed light on hunger; it was however a subtle, yet stern affirmation of the importance of basic liberties. This years´ award was also a critique of how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass political oppositional figures and manipulate the public debate, which can undermine political stability in weak states. This award will not make all countries safe for journalists overnight. Nonetheless, it does redirect our focus to the importance of journalism as truth and facts are under attack.

Freedom of media is a prerequisite for development and peace, not a result of it- because freedom of information and press freedom are essential to good governance. In turn, good governance will protect against power abuse, lies and propaganda. When journalists are under attack, the whole society will pay the price of disinformation.

Yes, democracy dies in darkness unless brave journalists do their job of exposing power abuse, suspicious transactions and questionable political deals through investigative journalism. In an ever-polarized world, a critical, fact-based and free media is the remedy against fake news, tabloid media and power abuse. Journalism is peace-building endeavour, irrespective of how corrupt leads may feel about it. In the Nobel committee’s spirit, this is also a tribute to Somali journalists that has sacrificed their lives to do their job.

Khadra Yasien Ahmed
PhD Candidate, UiB
[email protected]


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