Discussion: Snowden Nominated for Alternative Nobel Prize

Snowden Nominated for Alternative Nobel Prize

by Jacques Brodeur

Media educators are constantly searching for opportunities to sharpen critical skills with students and with fellow citizens. The actions of Edward Snowden, the response of the U.S. government, and the treatment of both by the media elicit a range of emotions in observers and point to some serious questions about perceptions of democracy and security. The Swedish parliament’s recent recognition of Snowden provides a chance for media educators to delve into these issues.

On Monday, December 1, 2014, the English newspaper The Guardian posted an article about Edward Snowden’s nomination for the Alternative Nobel Prize.

“Whistleblower Edward Snowden received several standing ovations in the Swedish parliament,” Ewen MacAskill writes, “after being given the Right Livelihood Award for his revelations of the scale of state surveillance [by the US National Security Agency]. … In a symbolic gesture, his family and supporters said no one picked up the award on his behalf in the hope that one day he might be free to travel to Sweden to receive it in person.” Snowden is living in exile in Russia, facing charges from the U.S. government if he returns to his homeland.

MacAskill goes on: “The jury citation said his award was in celebration of ‘building a global media organisation dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenge of exposing corporate and government malpractices.'” Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was also honored at the event. In his address, he noted that Snowden’s actions challenge us to recognize that “the public interest” is a misnomer because there is “[n]o such thing as one single, monolithic interest that overrides all others.”

The Guardian article can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/01/nsa-whistlebloewer-edward-snowden-wins-swedish-human-rights-award

Laura Poitras/Praxis Films

Laura Poitras/Praxis Films

The article includes a link to a one-minute video of Snowden’s acceptance speech. To view the entire 11-minute speech, visit http://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/blogues/les-mutations-tranquilles/425560/un-nobel-alternatif-pour-edward-snowden.

I would enjoy reading your students’ thoughts about this topic, with or without previous debate. If you wish to bring discussion of issues like this one onto the ACME site, simply post a comment in response to this item.

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