WikiLeaks nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Making governments accountable leads to peace, nominator says
A Norwegian politician has nominated WikiLeaks for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, saying Wednesday that its disclosures of classified documents promote world peace by holding governments accountable for their actions.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee keeps candidates secret for 50 years, but those with nomination rights sometimes make their picks known.
Snorre Valen, a 26-year-old legislator from Norway's Socialist Left Party, told The Associated Press he handed in his nomination in person on Tuesday, the last day to put forth candidates.
Would you have nominated WikiLeaks for the Nobel Peace Prize?
"I think it is important to raise a debate about freedom of expression and that truth is always the first casualty in war," Valen said. "WikiLeaks wants to make governments accountable for their actions and that contributes to peace."
Valen also announced his choice on his blog, where he wrote that WikiLeaks had advanced the struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech, just like last year's winner, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
Valen cited disclosures of nepotism and corruption in Tunisia's presidential family, saying WikiLeaks "made a small contribution to bringing down" that regime.
The prize committee typically receives more than 200 nominations, so being nominated doesn't say anything about a candidate's chances of actually winning. And there's no way of knowing for sure that people who announce candidates actually submitted a legitimate nomination to the award committee.
A long shot, says Nobel watcher
Kristian Harpsviken, a leading Nobel-watcher and director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, said he didn't consider WikiLeaks as a strong candidate for the 10 million kronor ($1.6 million) award.
"The reason I think it's unlikely is that there has been so much criticism of WikiLeaks, not least how they have handled identification issues of people in the documents," he said. "I don't think it quite does the trick."
Harpsviken keeps a list of "possible and confirmed nominations," based on public announcements and his own sources. His list this year includes WikiLeaks as well as Bradley Manning, the army private accused of leaking material to the website.