February 2, 2011

Wikileaks Gains Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

The Norwegian politician behind the Nobel Peace Prize nominations said Wednesday that Wikileaks has been nominated for the 2011 award.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee accepts nominations for the world's top accolade every year until February 1, although the five panel members have until the end of the month to make their own proposals.

Snorre Valen, a Norwegian parliamentarian, said Wikileaks was "one of the most important contributors to freedom of speech and transparency" in the 21st century.

"By disclosing information about corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes, Wikileaks is a natural contender for the Nobel Peace Prize," Valen said.

Wikileaks released tens of thousands of secret documents and diplomatic cables, which it says have harmed U.S. interests abroad, including peace efforts.

Julian Assange, the founder of the site, faces extradition to Sweden from Britain for questioning in a sex case which he and his supporters say is a smear campaign designed to close down Wikileaks.

Awarding Wikileaks the prize would most likely provoke criticism of the Nobel Committee, which chose jailed Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo and President Barack Obama a few months after his election.

The prize was endowed by Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, who said in his will it was to be awarded to whoever "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

The committee has stretched Nobel's definition to include human rights, climate activism and even micro-financing, which have been a source of criticism from Nobel traditionalists.

Nobel watchers say that a prize for Wikileaks would highlight the growing role of specialist Internet sites and broad access social media in bringing about world change.


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