OSLO, Norway – Two Norwegian politicians Wednesday nominated fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden to the Nobel Peace Prize for leaking top secret US documents to journalists and contributing to a more stable and peaceful world order.
Bard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen, both parliamentary representatives of Sosialistisk Venstreparti, the Socialist Left Party, said that Snowden’s disclosures of American surveillance data has made the world a safer place.
“Modern information technology brings new opportunities for democratisation, openness and freedom of speech,” the two lawmakers wrote in their nomination letter.
“But it also introduces new tools for oppression, surveillance and espionage.”
They said they “do not necessarily condone or support all of his disclosures” and “there is no doubt that the actions of Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term”.
“We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.
“His actions have in effect led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies. Its value can’t be overestimated.”
Snowden has been given temporary asylum in Russia after US revoked his passport and pressed espionage charges against him for disclosing how America’s National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring emails and telephone calls of world leaders, including those of close US allies.
Thousands of people around the world are eligible to nominate candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize, including any member of any national assembly.
There were 259 nominees for last year’s prize, which was won by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for its efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical arsenal.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee will collect nominations for the 2014 prize until Saturday, and the list will be finalised when the committee holds its first meeting of the year in March when members also submit their own nominations.
The five-member panel won’t confirm who’s been nominated but those who submit nominations sometimes make them public.
The winner is announced on the second Friday of October.