Fugitive US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has been named a winner of the 2014 Right Livelihood Award, described as Sweden’s “alternative Nobel prize”, BBC News reported.
Sharing the honorary award with him is Alan Rusbridger, editor of British newspaper The Guardian, which wrote extensively on the US government’s surveillance activities based on his leaks, the report said.
Cash prizes were given to three activists from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the United States.
The award was conferred on Snowden for “his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights”.
The award organizers cited Rusbridger for “building a global media organisation dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenges of exposing corporate and government malpractices”.
Sharing the cash prize of 1.5 million kronor (US$210,000) are Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir, Sri Lankan-born Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission and US environmentalist Bill McKibben, the report said.
Snowden fled the US last year, and leaked secret documents from the National Security Agency showing the extent of its surveillance on peoples, institutions and governments. He has since settled in Russia.
Unlike in the past, this year’s winners were not announced in the press room of the Foreign Department in Stockholm, fueling speculation that the Swedish government appeared to be embarrassed by Snowden’s inclusion among the awardees, the BBC said, citing information from the Swedish public broadcaster SVT.
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