Nominees for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize includes a Russian human rights group, a Chinese dissident and of course the Internet.
The Internet to Win the Nobel Peace Prize?
Yes, the Internet was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This is the year after Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing at the time he won. It sparked a lot of debate on the value of the Nobel Peace Prize as well as the whether the committee should ever award a nomination based on “potential” rather than concrete actions. Before discussing the Internet, let’s note the other real-human candidates that are known at this time.
Svetlana Gannushkina – Russian Human Rights
One nomination is a Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina and her group “Memorial”. Nominated by Erna Solberg, the head of Norway’s Conservative Party, this organization often leads the criticism against the Kremlin.
“These are people who are at the forefront of human rights and are putting their lives at risk for their work,” Solberg told The Associated Press.
Liu Xiaobo, Chinese Dissident
Kwame Anthony Appiah, president of the PEN American Center and a Princeton philosophy professor mentioned that he had nominated Liu Xiaobo. Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese dissident who was jailed by the government. Kwame Anthony Appiah says that he nominated Liu due to his “distinguished and principled leadership in the area of human and political rights and freedom of expression.” The Chinese government is obviously against this nomination.
“It would be completely wrong for the Nobel Prize committee to award the prize to such a person,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu
George Ryan, Former Illinois Governor
Francis A. Boyle, a law professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, nominated Former Illinois Governor George Ryan who is currently in jail for federal corruption charges. He was nominated for his campaign to abolish the death penalty.
Would they really give the Nobel Peace Prize to the Internet?
Last year’s choice of Obama already stirred a great deal of controversy as Obama had just joined office and had no real accomplishments that warranted the prize. Some felt that it cheapened the Award.
This year, some speculate that due to the controversy the committee may select a conservative winner. Others say that last year is just more evidence that we can expect anything.
Alfred Nobel left simple, vague instructions on how to select winners in his 1895 will. It was to promote “fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies”. It was meant for people who promoted peace through what they did. This definition has since been broadened by the Nobel Committee to also include human rights activist and the protection of the environment. The Nobel Committee is appointed by Norway’s parliament.
Why mention Nobel Peace Prize on this Blog?
The mere fact that the Internet is being nominated for what is considered one of the greatest awards today speaks volumes about how central internet has become.
Plus the internet is a mixed bag. Yes the internet has brought upon great proliferation of information and news. Yes, it has connected people from all around the world. It has opened new doors and opportunities to collaborate. It has truly been amazing. However we also know the Internet has caused a whole new set of emotional issues. It has opened the world to wide spread pornography and other degrading material for easy access to all ages. It has caused more people to waste more time staring at a screen whether it be simply cruising the internet or playing online multi-player video games. Our children grow up watching 8 hours of screen time a day, a huge chunk of that watching videos or tv shows on the Internet. 8 hours per day. There are many studies and professionals who mourn at the influence of media on our children’s development.
Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Process
Before getting carried away, let’s remember that numerous people are nominated every year for the Nobel Peace Prize. The information regarding who was nominated is not released by the Nobel Foundation until 50 years after the prize, but some information is made public by the ones who nominate the candidate. Yes the Internet was nominated, but in the past so was Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, and believe it or not Adolf Hitler, thought the latter was done out of protest to the nomination of a different candidate. Meanwhile candidates like Mohandas Gandhi was nominated several times but never awarded.
- What is your first gut reaction to this news?
- What do you think? Does the Internet warrant consideration?
- Do you think if the Internet wins the Nobel Peace Prize, it cheapens the Prize?
- Did the Internet bring about Peace in some way?