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By 2 March 2011 | Categories: news

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The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced yesterday that it had recorded 241 nominations for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, with two of the nominations including Wikileaks and our beloved, the internet.

The committee said that the 241 nominations includes 53 organisations, and trumps the 2010 number of 237 nominations. “Looking at the long term, we can say interest in the prize is strong and growing along with the number of candidates,” Gier Lundestad, a non-voting committee member told Reuters.

According to Reuters, not all the nominees have yet been disclosed, but they include Afghan rights advocate Sime Samar, the European Union, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas and Russian rights group Memorial, along with its founder Svetlana Gannushkina.

But less traditional nominations such as Wikileaks and the internet seems to be attracting the world's attention. Wikileaks is the whistle-blowing website which last year released thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables to the world.

Its founder, Julian Assange, in addition to being sought for arrest by American authorities, has also become embroiled in sex crime allegations (which he denies), with the Swedish government seeking to extradite the Australian national to stand trail in Sweden.

Perhaps the more surprising nominee though, is the internet, which is also the carrier and distributor of Wikileaks. The cyber highway has in recent years started being used for more noble pursuits than could ever have been imagined, with the recent uprisings in the Middle East being heavily influenced by its power of communication.

Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have played important roles in the recent uprisings, being used as channels of communication by protesters.

It now remains for the close-knit five member Nobel panel to mull over the nominations, with the winner of the prize being announced in October. The prize, established by dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, includes 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.58 million). Only one question now remains, if the internet wins, who's going to accept the prize?  

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